Corporate Compliance Officers

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How Helane Morrison and Others Are Effective As Compliance Officers

We are in an age when corporate ethics are constantly put in question, and as a result more and more compliance officers are being hired for corporate entities. These officers are meant to police incidents of corporate fraud and unethical tactics. One example is Helane Morrison, the Managing Director, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Hall Capital Partners. 

Before her work at Hall Capital Partners, Morrison was the head of US Securities and Exchange Commision (also known as SEC). Morrison became responsible for regulation, security matters and litigation. During her time at the Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin law firm, she performed internal investigations within the company. 

Compliance officers like Morrison are increasing in numbers, but there is a question of how effective they are. The CEO of Sterling Management, Kevin Wilson, claims that officers are not given enough training or authority to properly monitor unethical corporate behavior. 

According to Wilson, “These positions are filled with critical training gaps, not enough authority and [are] most often working out of the wrong department in the company. In many cases, their everyday duties and demands obscure the really big issues that could sink the ship. Without the proper skill set, ethics officers are programmed to fail.” On how to improve the situation, Wilson says, “the compliance officer should have the full endorsement of the board of directors, the owners or the major stakeholders in the company. To do anything less would be like throwing that person — and possibly the company — to the wolves.”