Contemporary state governance relies increasingly on regulatory strategies encouraging self-regulation and compliance for corporate regulation. This paper examines the conditions in which such strategies might be effective by reference to the Australian trade practices regime. The paper argues that regulators will only use compliance strategies effectively when (i) a community of compliance professionals with both professional integrity and commercial ‘street’ credibility exists to make compliance come alive in everyday corporate activities, and (ii) regulators invest in meta-evaluation of compliance professionals’ activities.