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Creating a leader in compliance

Redesigned governance structure helps leading investment bank instill compliance throughout organization.


A leading investment bank requested that McKinsey help it with a full-blown review and reorganization of its compliance infrastructure. The client was responding to the increased external scrutiny of corporate governance, compliance, and potential conflicts of interest on Wall Street.

McKinsey was asked to meet a number of objectives, including examining and refining the client's overall compliance philosophy and strategy in the context of its professional values and reputational excellence. McKinsey was also asked to identify potential changes and improve core compliance processes.


McKinsey assessed the client's current position versus existing and emerging best practices based on internal assessment, benchmarking, and feedback from other external sources, such as regulators. The internal assessment required about 150 interviews across geographies and product groups on such key measures as the client's philosophy and strategy, organization and governance, processes and hand-offs, as well as the roles of culture and technology. Benchmarking involved a survey developed by the McKinsey team.

The team then synthesized the key gaps for the client versus best practices and recommended initiatives and action plans to close those gaps. These included changes to roles, structures and processes, and additional investment requirements and tracking mechanisms. There were key cultural barriers to overcome.


McKinsey redesigned the governance structure, expanding both the domain of compliance and removing the “siloed” approach of the group. McKinsey helped the client to increase the status and perception of compliance within the organization.

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