A former banker is trying to create a virtual trade group for compliance officers at banks, insurance companies, and securities firms.
Financial Services Compliance Network at www.fscn.com is designed to deliver everything a traditional trade group offers: policy updates, discounts on publications and seminars, career development, and networking possibilities.
The site went live in late June, and co-founder Kenneth F. Hall said he expects 200 compliance officers will have paid the $70 annual membership fee by September.
Mr. Hall, who has held top legal and compliance posts at Citibank, Natwest, and Fleet Bank, is working with Robert E. Barnett and James C. Sivon, who run the prominent banking law firm here of Barnett & Sivon.
"There's nothing like this out there," Mr. Hall said.
Maybe not exactly like it, but there are other sites compliance officers can tap. For example, www.moneypage.com, a gateway to myriad banking pages, delivers compliance news. Triac Co., a consulting firm in Pasadena, Calif., provides plain-English translations and updates on consumer compliance issues at www.traicnet.com.
Like these sites, most of Compliance Network can be accessed for free. It costs nothing to call up the legislative and regulatory scorecards, which detail action on dozens of bills and rules. Data can be sorted many ways, including by agency, subject, or date of action.
Beyond the federal government, the site provides information on laws and rules in 14 states. Eventually, Mr. Hall said, all 50 states will be represented.
Links to more than 60 Web pages related to financial services can be reached from Compliance Network. "There is a ton of useful information out there. The trick is finding it," Mr. Hall said.
For the annual fee, members gain access to "Compliance Spotlight," original articles by industry experts. Over two-week periods, members may pose questions for the guest. For example, through July 25 former Justice Department civil rights chief Deval Patrick is accepting questions on enforcement of anti-bias laws against home insurers.
Members also will get discounts up to 20% on books and conferences, including those offered by the American Bankers Association.
Mr. Hall said he hopes compliance officers will flock to the Web page and use its various interactive features. For example, the site will attempt to survey compliance officers on various topics. Results, available on-line, will only be interesting if enough people participate. Compliance Network also plans to hold forums for compliance officers to discuss hot topics.
"I'm not 100% sure" the site will succeed, Mr. Hall said. "A lot of people have tried interactive bulletin boards, and many of them have not worked."