The number of ethics and compliance officers in organizations continues to increase. However, the incidents of corporate fraud have not stopped. A report from Sterling Management CEO explains further that compliance officers do not have the knowledge and power to carry out their duties to ensure that corporate fraud scandals do not happen. For instance, in the Volkswagen emissions software scandal, although the compliance officers would not have discovered the software was illegal, they would have avoided the scandal by exerting a proactive effect on the culture producing it. Low salaries are also seen to be a contributing factor. A compliance officer in such a large firm will not have authority over executives who earn more than them.
Ethics and compliance officers should improve their governance and effectiveness in performing their duties. They can do this if they are placed in positions that give them authority in the organizations. Executives should not be allowed to assume the duties of compliance officers. The ethics and compliance office should be a full-time position for the one working there, and only qualified personnel with relevant qualities should be allowed to work there.
Compliance officers need to have adequate skills and be able to act and work in a professional manner for other people to take them seriously. Compliance workers also need to have outstanding managerial and critical thinking skills to enable them to solve issues before they escalate. A compliance officer to consider is Helane Morrison.
Helane Morrison is the Chief Compliance Officer at Hall Capital Partners LLC as well as a member of the executive committee. Ms. Morrison is a well-known lawyer who practiced law at the San Francisco law firm from 1896 to 1996 when she became a partner. She also served under the Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1985 to 1986 before switching to private practice.
Helane Morrison is a member of the Regional Parks Foundation Board as well as the Hedge Fund Subcommittee that oversees American Bar Association. She also speaks from time to time on topics involving compliance and legal issues that affect investment advisors as well as issues concerning private funds.