Incentives and Culture in Risk Compliance
Posted: 16 Aug 2017 Last revised: 27 Aug 2019
Date Written: November 10, 2017
In the finance industry, risk compliance has become an important issue after numerous policy violations resulting in significant costs for financial institutions and society as a whole. Little evidence currently exists on the drivers of non-compliant behavior. We run a lab-in-the-field experiment with 269 finance professionals, to investigate the effects of financial incentives and workplace culture on risk compliance. The experiment mimics the typical financial services workplace where staff are expected to generate profits by taking risk on behalf of the employer while remaining compliant with risk policy/limits.
Relative to variable remuneration (linked to expected profits), fixed remuneration increases compliance rates by as much as 25.1 percentage points. This is achieved with no loss of productivity (measured by the number of compliant investments participants completed in the laboratory). Introducing a risk-focused workplace culture increases compliance at the individual level by a substantial 19.3 percentage points, even in the presence of variable remuneration. Once again, this is achieved without loss of productivity. Favorable personal attitudes to risk management/compliance also increase compliance rates.
Keywords: Risk Culture, Compliance, Variable Remuneration
JEL Classification: C91, G21, G32, G41, J3, M14, M52
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