Wealth Management Compliance Professionals


Education and Training Requirements

High School

High school classes that will help to prepare you for a career in compliance include English, speech, business, economics, accounting, computer science, database design and management, computer security, social studies, history, and foreign language.

Postsecondary Education

Entry-level compliance professionals typically have bachelor’s degrees in business, finance, accounting, or pre-law. Some employers prefer to hire those with graduate degrees in these areas, or those who have law degrees. A few colleges, such as Loyola University Chicago, offer master’s degree concentrations in compliance studies. Law schools—such as the Seton Hall Law School—are beginning to offer concentrations in compliance. The Regulatory Compliance Association’s College of Regulatory Compliance provides a law and master’s concentration in asset management practice, compliance, and regulation. The International Compliance Association offers postgraduate diplomas in governance, risk, and compliance; financial crime compliance; and other areas.

Other Education or Training

Most wealth management firms provide ongoing training for their employees, which includes classes that focus on specific career areas (e.g., compliance, risk management, portfolio management) and personal and professional development (e.g., leadership, teamwork, and technology skills).

Professional associations also offer a wealth of continuing education (CE) workshops, webinars, seminars, and classes. For example, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics provides webinars such as The ABC’s of Professional Development for Compliance Practitioners and Update on Global Data Privacy Laws and Frameworks. It also offers the Basic Compliance and Ethics Academy, a three-and-a-half-day intensive program that covers topics such as compliance standards, policies, and procedures; ethics; communications, education, and training; and risk assessment. The program is offered in cities around the world. Professional development opportunities are also provided by the International Compliance Association, Regulatory Compliance Association, American Bar Association, and the American Bankers Association. Contact these organizations for more information. 


A few colleges offer undergraduate and graduate certificates in compliance. Typical classes in these programs focus on risk management, ethics, leadership, and accounting systems. Contact the following colleges for more information about their programs:

  • University of South Florida: https://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/graduate-certificates/programs/compliance-risk-anti-money-laundering.aspx
  • San Francisco State University: https://cob.sfsu.edu/management/certificates/ethics-compliance-certificate

The International Compliance Association (https://www.int-comp.org/course-finder) offers certificates that focus on compliance, anti-money laundering, financial crime prevention, due diligence, risk management, and other areas. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Several associations and a college have developed certification programs for compliance professionals. The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics’ Compliance Certification Board awards the certified compliance and ethics professional, the certified compliance and ethics professional fellow, and other credentials to those who pass a certification exam and meet educational and experience requirements. The Regulatory Compliance Association offers the chartered regulatory counsel and the certified compliance officer designations. The American Bankers Association provides the certified regulatory compliance manager credential to applicants who have at least three years of industry experience and meet other requirements.

The Lubin School of Business at Pace University and the Association of International Bank Auditors have partnered to offer the certified compliance and regulatory professional credential. The program includes courses in regulatory affairs, corporate governance, and compliance program development and management.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

For entry-level positions, you’ll need to complete a compliance-related internship or participate in a co-operative educational experience during college. This can be at a wealth management firm, in the compliance department of a corporation, or at a regulator such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. To become a chief compliance officer (CCO), you will need five to 10 years of compliance experience; at least half of this time should be in a managerial position. Some wealth management firms prefer to hire CCOs who have law degrees.

A successful compliance professional has a good understanding of his or her firm’s business and its financial products, expertise in federal and state securities laws, and the ability to assess risks that may affect the firm’s ability to comply with these laws. Compliance workers must be excellent communicators because they frequently interact with wealth managers, risk managers, government regulators, and their fellow compliance professionals. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are necessary to identify and mitigate areas of risk. Other important traits include first-rate organizational skills, personal integrity, curiosity, creativity, good presentation skills, excellent judgment, a detail-oriented personality, and the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.