Compliance arbitrage

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An essential tool in the armoury of the legal structurer, compliance arbitrage comes in two varieties:

  • Thin slicing — seeking approval for an activity or product which, if not on-its face abusive, illegal or liable to stain the organisation’s reputation, is at least transparently preposterous when taken in the round, by segmenting the request into pieces, each of which while seeming marginally aggressive can be explained (or at least searching questions about which can be fended off with passive aggressive behaviour or appeals to the CEO’s alleged personal agenda) and sending them severally (and not jointly) to junior members of discrete risk control teams, in the hope that approval across all silos in the control federation before anyone can twig to the essential enormity of the proposal in the round;
  • Opinion shopping: when given an unexpected rebuff when thin-slicing, putting the same question to a different, more credulous or less-informed member of the same controller team (often one based in a different region or building), so the subterfuge does not come to light.

A risk controller hates being arbitraged, and has a special loathing of being opinion shopped, implying as it does that the sales regards her in particular as a soft touch.

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

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