The number of compliance officers is on the rise although incidents of scandal and corporate fraud have not been stopped. This is according to a report by Sterling Management based in Los Angeles. Sterling CEO, Kevin Wilson, explains that the ethics and compliance officers have not been provided with the power, knowledge and authority to control the ills. According to him, most of the positions have critical training gaps and do not have adequate authority. Therefore, without the necessary skills, chances of failure are high. The other issue that Wilson points out is salary. I imagine that it will be difficult for someone earning 50 times lesser to assert his or her authority on me. The same applies for compliance officers.
The vice president of Navex Global, Randy Stephen, is of a different opinion. According to him, general counsels as well as chief financial officers have always had clout yet claims of financial mismanagement have continued to be reported. Stephens notes that the solution to the issue is for companies to begin viewing the position as worthy of independence and single focus. In addition, giving a full time professional occupant for the CCO position expresses a strong signal to an organization, its employees, suppliers as well as contractors and outside suppliers. In my view, it serves as an indication that the organization is committed to excellence.
According to Navex Global CCO, Carrie Penn, HR heads should ensure that the right individual is offered the job. She says that the title can bring clout but not respect. Therefore, there are certain qualities and skills that make a CCO more effective. This includes the ability to establish and maintain credibility, sound judgment, understanding business processes, ability to handle confidential information and ability to comprehend legal materials. In addition to having these competencies, CCOs must be proactive in identifying situations that could develop to problems. In my opinion, this is the most important element.
I know few people that have excellent competencies. Helane Morrison is one of them. From her record of accomplishment, it is easy to see that she has all the qualities of a top CCO. Presently, Morrison serves as the chief compliance officer, general counsel and managing director of Hall Capital Partners. She is also a member of the company’s executive committee. Morrison joined Hall Capital Partners in 2007. This information was originally reported on Bloomberg as highlighted in the following linkhttp://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=38982933&privcapId=1746886&previousCapId=1746886&previousTitle=Hall%20Capital%20Partners%20LLC
Previously, Morrison was the head of the San Francisco Office of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 1999 to 2007. She was responsible for regulatory matters, securities enforcement and litigation covering Northern California as well as five Northwest States. She served in two different capacities starting as a district administrator and was the first female regional director of the SEC.