Dear Reader: By deciding to devote our cover story to compliance this month we focus on a key element in the DNA of this magazine: Managing compliance is increasingly a global issue for corporates and financial institutions.

MAY 2015 | VOL. 29 NO. 5

As with other global issues, the changing regulatory framework forces different national authorities to coordinate and cooperate on a global level to create consistency between regimes—at least in an ideal world. But the reality is that it is often left to companies themselves to navigate between conflicting requirements.

Compliance experts are one of the fastest-growing segments of new hires in both corporates and banking entities in many countries, which is just another indication of the relevance of this topic.

The cost of compliance and its complexity are also part of an ongoing debate, particularly in the banking world. Some claim that traditional banking activities are migrating to nonbank lenders because of the cost of compliance and new capital requirements, and that banks’ performance has been negatively affected by the uncertainty over legal and regulatory costs. Others see a physical migration of banks from one country to another to lessen the impact of regulation, or a shrinking of activities for smaller banks in order to limit the cost of compliance.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, has recently warned shareholders that the current capital and liquidity rules, created in order to prevent a new financial crisis, have restricted the ability of banks to provide liquidity in a crisis and act as shock absorbers—as they did in the past. Certainly, not everyone would agree with that assessment.

The debate over whether regulation is hindering banking activity excessively is still clearly open, but the vitality of the banking sector is undisputed, as our annual Best Bank awards attest. The awards bring to light the intense activity occurring in the sector. Some of the winners at the country and regional level are confirming the awards of previous years, but many are new names and demonstrate the dynamism of the banking industry.

Andrea Fiano | Editor