A company can be at risk when management and employees don’t follow federal and state regulations. Business leadership can be aware problems exist but don’t know how to approach the issue. Or, they are inclined to think the problem is not major enough to warrant rocking the boat with fellow workers. Problems left unchecked can grow and fester over time until they become unethical issues involving corporate theft, contracting without a license and fraud.
Compliance officers identify problems within a company and fix them. They may inspect safety equipment, worksites after an injury, perform audits and even interview employees when handling complaints. It takes a special kind of person to inspect a company’s compliance with internal and external rules. They must lead by example and influentially, be strict to follow procedure and have excellent people skills. Management, department supervisors and hourly employees will implement direction given by the corporate compliance officer and make needed changes.
Helane Morrison, as a compliance officer, is a pioneer with a commitment to justice. She was to the first woman to serve as Chief Compliance Officer, and joined the Executive Committee at Hall Capital Partners LLC in November 2007. Helane was Regional Director and then became head of enforcement for then Securities Exchange Commission in San Francisco, CA from 1996 to 1999. Ms. Morrison also practiced law and became a partner with the law firm, Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.
Helane primary focus was SEC concerns, defense of private securities and business litigation. As a lawyer, she conducted internal corporate investigations and tried cases for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office. Ms. Morrison examined company records of brokerage firms and investment advisors. She wrote letters requesting companies to make changes in their business practices and referred cases to the enforcement staff. Helane exposed corrupt brokers and defends defrauded customers.
Helane Morrison’s tough character has helped her maintain ethical integrity throughout her career. She’s shown how to be a successful compliance officer. She also influences others to follow the rules involving the financial industry. Even now, with so little faith in Wall Street and the belief that there are no guarantees any investment is safe, Ms. Morrison keeps watch that investors and their clients are in compliance with SEC regulations.