I think Helane Morrison is a distinguished legal expert and an ideal compliance officer. Helane Morrison is currently a member of the Executive Committee for Hall Capital Partners a leading investment firm that has been in business for 20 years. She also serves as Hall Capital Partner’s General Counsel, Managing Director, and its Chief Compliance Officer. Helane has had a very distinguished career. Helane was at one point in time the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in San Francisco. She held that position for 8 years.
In that position, she accrued valuable experience. She was in charge of regulatory matters, litigation, as well as enforcement of securities for 6 states in the Western United States including California. She distinguished herself greatly while in this position. Before being the director of the San Francisco SEC Helane was in charge of its enforcement division for 3 years. She has also served as a lawyer at private law firms and even worked as the law clerk for a Supreme Court Justice, Harry Blackmun, for a few years. She is a philanthropist who loves nature. She is a board member for the Regional Parks Foundation and she uses her spare time to speak on issues that are important to her at private fundraising events.
All of the above makes Helane Morrison a role model and an ideal compliance officer for a prestigious firm. But many wonder what exactly a compliance officer does. I’ll do my best to answer that question. Its actually a relatively new occupation. The compliance officer’s job is to create a compliance program to identify regulatory and ethical problems in a legal environment. Compliance officers can do this through an assortment of tools. They can rely on either formal or informal investigations. They can perform audits and they sometimes rely on educating legal and financial professionals on the proper way to conduct themselves.
Compliance officers are absolutely necessary. Without them, professionals who work in the legal and financial industries would break rules they aren’t even aware of. With every passing year, the federal government passes new laws and regulations. There are far too many for financiers to keep up with. So they need a devoted expert to keep track of those matters for them and to keep them in line.
The market for compliance officers is growing dramatically as you can read more about in this article from MsBusiness. Up and coming compliance officers would do well to imitate the example of Helane Morrison and try to achieve distinctions like hers.