From Consultant to Compliance Officer: My Journey Back In-House

When I left my comfortable in-house legal and compliance role in Dubai three years ago to move back home to Morocco, I was excited to take on a new challenge in a different country. However, I quickly discovered that the compliance landscape in Morocco was vastly different from what I had experienced in Dubai.

To be more precise, Morocco reminded me of Dubai 15 years ago when the compliance function was almost non-existent and limited to a few sectors (financial, pharmaceutical, defense) and companies subject to the FCPA. But as time went on, compliance became a more established profession in the UAE, and there were more opportunities for compliance officers to advance their careers.

Moving back to Morocco, meant reliving that experience all over again, where compliance was still in its early stages, and the profession relatively unknown outside of the financial sectors.

On a more practical note that mostly meant that compliance roles were scarce, and it was challenging to find an in-house role that matched my experience and expertise. There certainly were opportunities to go back to “commercial” legal roles, but for me there was no turning back: compliance had properly stolen my heart.

I knew that I had to be creative and find a way to use my skills and knowledge, and share that passion, to help companies in Morocco recognize the importance of ethics and compliance.

This is what ultimately led me to become a compliance consultant. If you are like me an expat somewhere, and considering such a move, there are both challenges and opportunities to be aware of. In this article, I will cover some pros and cons of working as a compliance consultant, and ultimately, what made me move back in-house as a compliance officer.


It’s important to point out that being a consultant has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life, and an experience I absolutely don’t regret. I have probably learned more in 3 years consulting than I have in 13 years working in-house.

Being a consultant allowed me to be more flexible in terms of where I worked and who I worked for. It also gave me the freedom to choose which projects I wanted to take on, and which ones were the best fit for my skills and experience.

As a consultant, you are exposed to a wide range of compliance issues, which can be a valuable experience in expanding your knowledge and skill set. Working with different clients and industries can also broaden your perspective on how to approach compliance challenges, and can help you develop a more robust understanding of regulatory requirements.

Another significant benefit is the potential to earn higher compensation, as you can set your rates based on your experience and expertise.

For me personally, one of the benefits of becoming a consultant was the newfound freedom of speech that came with it. In the UAE, I was somewhat limited in my critique, and offers for improvement.

As a consultant, I was able to speak my mind and share my insights without fear of retribution or censorship. This newfound freedom gave me the confidence to start blogging about compliance topics and share my experiences with the wider compliance community.

Through my blog and social media, I was able to connect with fellow compliance professionals from around the world and build relationships that have lasted to this day. I was also able to share my knowledge and expertise through speaking engagements at conferences and webinars.

It was truly liberating to be able to share my thoughts and ideas with a wider audience, and it gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I hadn’t experienced before.


Being a compliance consultant, however, also comes with its set of challenges. One of the most significant challenges of working as a consultant is the nature of the work itself. As a consultant, you are not part of the day-to-day operations of a company. This means you may not be fully aware of all the issues and challenges faced by the company, which can make it difficult to provide comprehensive compliance guidance.

As a consultant, your work is also dependent on the projects you are working on, and there is always the possibility that when a project comes to an end, you wonder where your next project might be coming from.

You may also find out that while some clients will pay you for your services within reasonable timeframe, others might not. The key is to not take these hurdles personally, and understand that companies have payment cycles, vendor onboarding processes, and international banking transfer challenges at times.

Despite the challenges of being a compliance consultant, I honestly found the work itself to be extremely rewarding.

I was able to help companies across the world, providing them with the guidance and expertise they needed to navigate this complex field.

I had the opportunity to work with companies in a wide range of industries, from the banking sector, to manufacturing, to telecoms.

I quickly learned that compliance challenges were not unique to one industry, and that the skills I had developed in-house were surprisingly transferable, and, provided you are always willing to learn, you can easily create a niche for yourself.

Ultimately, my experience as a compliance consultant helped me to grow both professionally and personally, and it prepared me for the next chapter of my career .


Why I’m Returning to In-House Compliance

After three years of working as a consultant, I find myself missing the day-to-day interaction with teammates and the ability to make a more significant impact on an organization’s compliance program.

As a consultant, I was often brought in for short-term projects, and while I enjoyed the work, I wanted to be more involved in the development and implementation of long-term compliance strategies.

So when I was approached about an opportunity to move back in-house as a regional compliance officer for an energy management company, working with two strong compliance ladies, I jumped at the opportunity.

I find a renewed sense of purpose to be able to make a much more significant impact on a company’s compliance program.

For me that means being able to work more closely with collaborators, gaining a better understanding of a company’s operations and the specific compliance challenges it faces. This will allow me to develop policies, procedures, and trainings that are tailored to the company’s specific needs, rather than just providing generic consultancy guidance.

I am a compliance officer at heart, and I have been waiting to connect with a company with an honest compliance program, and robust ethics initiatives.

I am most grateful for my time as a consultant, the business partners, clients, and readers who helped me grow, but today I’m happy to report that I’m back once again where I belong, being a compliance officer.

As I transition back into this new in-house compliance role, I am excited to focus on the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the role. However, I also want to reassure my readers that I will continue to blog as time permits.

While my schedule may be busier now, I remain deeply passionate about compliance and committed to sharing my knowledge and expertise with others in the field.

Whether it’s sharing insights on emerging compliance trends or providing advice on navigating complex compliance issues, I will continue to write about the topics that matter most to me and my readers.

I truly believe that knowledge-sharing is critical to advancing the field of compliance and ensuring that companies are able to meet their ethical and legal obligations.

And while my day-to-day responsibilities may have changed, my commitment to this mission remains as strong as ever. So rest assured, I will be back with more content soon!

My journey from a compliance officer to a consultant and back again as a compliance officer has taught me priceless lessons about myself and the compliance profession. And while the road ahead may be uncertain, I’m excited to see where it takes me next.

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