Xavier
Group Compliance Director, Paris
After having held various positions as a market maker and derivatives sales person in brokerage houses then joining the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (today the AMF – the French financial markets regulator), in 2001 I had the opportunity to set up the Ethics Department for the market activities of a major French bank. There, I also held several other positions within the Compliance Department, the last of which was Compliance Director for its French private bank.

I joined Exane in December 2016 as Group Compliance Director.

What led me to join Exane?

The dynamism that Exane has successfully maintained over recent years in a tense environment from both a competitive and regulatory viewpoint was a key aspect. Its size, as a company neither too large nor too small, allowing for greater proximity with the teams, the possibility to mobilise people's energy more effectively and to focus on set priorities also influenced my decision. Not forgetting of course the entrepreneurial dimension, which instils a strong sense of responsibility in the teams.

Having started my professional career in two brokerage houses on the historical Paris stock exchange, just a stone's throw from our current head office, joining Exane’s teams was also an opportunity to rediscover an environment which was familiar to me, a brokerage culture which I particularly appreciated.

What are the main roles of the Compliance function?

Our work involves giving meaning to the regulations governing our activities, training the teams to promote a Compliance culture, listening to the needs of the different business lines in order to be able to meet their requirements as well as possible and those of our clients, while at the same time providing clients with suitably adapted products along with the right level of information.

It also includes a control-related aspect to ensure that the applicable regulations are being respected and to guarantee the compliance of our operations. We are also involved in supporting and advising management with their business development decisions.

Additionally, Compliance operates as an interface with stock market regulators. Along with the other central and control functions in particular, it shares its know-how and information, enabling a better control of our risks.

This is an interesting activity with a significant cross-departmental aspect, working closely with the various operational activities and their projects. It requires a good knowledge of the activities being performed and therefore of the products and services supplied to clients. Discipline and an ability to think outside the box are both essential requirements to work in Compliance.

You always need to keep in mind that a compliance problem affecting a department in one of Exane’s units can have consequences on the reputation of the whole Exane Group as viewed by its clients, its regulators or its potential future staff members, not forgetting the risks of financial penalties. Rebuilding a tarnished image takes a lot of time and effort.

When you're working in Compliance, you're working for the general benefit of Exane, building a trusting relationship with operational staff, supporting them, while at the same time protecting the Group’s reputation and integrity. It's a unique and rewarding challenge where a team spirit and the interfacing of skills and know-how play an important part. Become a key player in Compliance!