NFU Blog

Compliance still affecting the workload but digitalization can be a helping tool – following up on the 2018 report

NFU has conducted a follow up on the results from the thorough report from 2018 Coping with Compliance. The idea was to see if there have been any changes in the field of coping with compliance during the last three years.

In 2018 NFU conducted a report analyzing the employee and organizational effects of EU legislative requirements regarding documentation, consumer product information and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) obligations, following the EU regulations on the finance sector after the financial crisis in 2008. The report showed how employees in the financial sector were the ones having to cope with these regulatory frameworks, resulting in increased stress levels from a larger workload and higher requirements of documentation. The report also showed conflicts of interest and more work linked to customer relations and KYC.

The 2021 analysis shows that compliance continues to be a challenge for staff performance and well-being. Informants could identify with the key findings of the 2018 survey. At the same time, the 2021 analysis shows that conditions have improved from 2018 to 2021. Digitalization and automation of compliance work has helped decreasing the documentation and workload. The informants also report that there is a greater understanding from customers when it comes to KYC, linking this to media stories on money laundering and fraud, highlighting the importance of security.

Despite the fact that there have been some improvements during the last years, there are still some challenges for employees connected to compliance work and the workload is still on a high level. The report also shows that, even though many celebrate the development of digital and automated tools, some employees also see the digitalization as threat.

The report shows that employees tend to use different coping mechanisms connected to workload and digitalization. Some try to do what is possible during working hours and rely on the managers to prioritize, while some cope with the large workload by working longer hours. Looking at digitalization, some embrace the new technology and see it as a help, while some see it as a threat to their job and might even leave the sector as an effect.

Even though it is positive to see that many in the study say that things have developed to the better during the last years, it is still worrying that finance employees feel that the workload connected to compliance is difficult to cope with and clearly something that trade unions and companies need to address further. The digitalization of compliance and regulatory work, highlighted with the large development within regtech, raises questions on how finance employees are coping with digitalization.

The NFU Management board will address the implications for us as unions further on the next meeting in September.  After that, the report will be published.

Read the 2018 report here: NFU-study_Coping-with-Compliance.pdf (

And the Policy paper from 2019: NFU-Policy-Paper-Coping-with-compliance.pdf ( 

Simon Jernberg
Policy Advisor, NFU

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