The Role of Compliance in Third-Party Risk Assurance

The Role of Compliance in Third-Party Risk Assurance

In today’s interconnected business landscape, organizations often rely on third-party vendors and partners to support their operations and achieve their strategic goals. While these relationships can bring numerous benefits, they also introduce a certain level of risk. To mitigate these risks, organizations must implement effective third-party risk assurance strategies, and compliance plays a crucial role in this process.

Overview of Regulatory Requirements Related to Third-Party Risk Management

Regulatory bodies across various industries have recognized the importance of managing third-party risks and have implemented specific requirements to ensure organizations are adequately addressing these risks. For example, in the financial sector, regulatory frameworks such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) Bulletin 2013-29 and the Federal Reserve’s SR 13-19 outline expectations for managing third-party relationships.

Similarly, other industries, such as healthcare and information technology, have their own set of regulations and guidelines that organizations must adhere to. These regulations emphasize the need for organizations to assess and monitor the risks associated with their third-party relationships and implement appropriate controls to mitigate these risks.

Importance of Compliance in Ensuring Effective Third-Party Risk Assurance Strategies

Compliance is essential in ensuring the effectiveness of third-party risk assurance strategies for several reasons:

  1. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: By integrating compliance requirements into their third-party risk assurance programs, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to adhering to applicable laws and regulations. This helps protect the organization from potential legal and financial consequences resulting from non-compliance.
  2. Risk Identification and Assessment: Compliance requirements often provide guidelines for identifying and assessing risks associated with third-party relationships. By following these guidelines, organizations can gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and prioritize their risk mitigation efforts accordingly.
  3. Control Implementation: Compliance requirements often outline specific controls that organizations should implement to mitigate third-party risks. These controls can include measures such as conducting due diligence on third-party vendors, implementing contractual provisions, and regularly monitoring vendor performance. By integrating compliance requirements into their risk assurance programs, organizations can ensure that these controls are effectively implemented.
  4. Monitoring and Auditing: Compliance requirements often mandate regular monitoring and auditing of third-party relationships. By incorporating these requirements into their risk assurance programs, organizations can establish a robust monitoring and auditing framework to track the performance and compliance of their third-party vendors.

Best Practices for Integrating Compliance into Third-Party Risk Assurance Programs

Integrating compliance into third-party risk assurance programs requires a systematic and proactive approach. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Establish Clear Policies and Procedures: Develop comprehensive policies and procedures that outline the organization’s expectations and requirements for compliance in third-party relationships. These documents should cover areas such as due diligence, contract management, ongoing monitoring, and incident response.
  2. Implement Robust Due Diligence Processes: Conduct thorough due diligence on potential third-party vendors before entering into any agreements. This process should include evaluating the vendor’s financial stability, reputation, compliance history, and security controls.
  3. Include Compliance Requirements in Contracts: Ensure that contracts with third-party vendors clearly articulate compliance expectations, including adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards. Contracts should also include provisions for regular reporting, audits, and the right to terminate the relationship in case of non-compliance.
  4. Establish Ongoing Monitoring Mechanisms: Implement processes to continuously monitor the performance and compliance of third-party vendors. This can include regular assessments, site visits, and periodic audits. Any identified non-compliance issues should be addressed promptly.
  5. Provide Regular Training and Communication: Educate employees and third-party vendors about compliance requirements and the organization’s expectations. Regularly communicate updates and changes to compliance policies and procedures to ensure ongoing awareness and adherence.


A compliant third-party risk assurance approach is crucial for organizations to effectively manage the risks associated with their third-party relationships. By integrating compliance requirements into their risk assurance programs, organizations can ensure legal and regulatory compliance, identify and assess risks, implement appropriate controls, and establish robust monitoring and auditing mechanisms. This proactive approach helps protect the organization from potential legal and financial consequences and enhances the overall effectiveness of their risk assurance strategies.

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