Donald Trump and What It Means for Regulatory Compliance

Mac Matarieh
Associate Editor
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2018


Inside of President-Elect Donald Trump’s 100 Day Action Plan is a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations would be eliminated. Mr. Trump has consistently pushed the narrative of an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Further, Mr. Trump wants to implement a free market to restore economic freedom; this includes repealing financial reforms that the Obama administration created, such as the Dodd-Frank Act. This might leave some wondering what this means for the world of compliance.

What this means for compliance programs:

Contrary to popular belief, Samuel Rubenfeld of the Wall Street Journal projects the Trump administration to crack down on financial crime. Over the years banks have hired an extensive amount of anti-money-laundering experts to prevent their intuitions from facilitating financial crime. Although Mr. Trump has planned to relax regulations, experts are predicting that enforcement of the current rules will not be lessened.

The idea that there will be the same level of scrutiny regarding enforcement of current regulations, despite a push for less regulations, seems to be agreed upon by experts in the field, such as Roy Snell, CEO of the Health Care Compliance Association. Mr. Snell strongly believes that those who think that compliance will fade away because of Mr. Trump’s presidency are wrong, just as they have been over the last 20 years. In fact, Mr. Snell is willing to bet that there will be more pages of regulations at the end of 2017 than there were at the beginning, despite a promise from the President-Elect of large cuts in regulations.

Most interestingly, Mr. Snell makes a compelling argument that most of the regulations that would be changed would reduce “bureaucratic paper work, not compliance work.” He goes on to say that the ethics work will not change if reforms such as the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank are repealed. Further, multinational compliance officers who deal with different country’s laws will hardly be affect by changes in US regulations. In summary, no amount of regulation repeal could stop the amount of work a compliance officer receives and it could even be argued that compliance programs will increase.

What this means for your role in compliance:

Based on early predictions, your workload will probably be on the rise. As Mr. Snell has stated, this is the first time that the projected downfall of compliance has become a risk area for compliance professionals in itself. Be sure to stick to your compliance program and to stay current on what the Trump administration plans to do with regulations in your area of work. In the coming months it might be worthwhile to speak with those in the compliance program to discuss the nature of discussions surrounding compliance and to discuss how to move forward with the new President-Elect.