One of the most substantial trends we expected to see in governance, risk, and compliance in 2008 is the tightening of regulations in response to major risk management failures. Yesterday, we saw a clear example of that, as the US Senate approved a bill that would nearly double the size of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, largely in response to the massive toy recalls that took place last year.
Also this week, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed signs of cracking down on disclosure of drug trial results after problems persisted with certain anti-depressant drugs in relation to teenage suicide (even though criminal charges will not be filed).
The sub-prime issue may likely be the next major target for legislative changes, although most discussion seems to be focused on consumer protection at this point, not tighter control over lenders.
In all of these cases, it’s much easier to see in hindsight what companies could have done to avoid such legislative action. However, I think a case can certainly be made for seriously supporting industry standards…for example, the general success of the PCI Data Security Standard seems to have diminished any strong push to curb data theft through tougher regulations.