Helane Morrison, Compliance Officers and Eternal Vigilence
We are living in an age where corporations are becoming as powerful as entire countries. Conglomerates have lobbying firms that coerce politicians into passing legislation that benefits a single money-making entity rather than the good of the people. Most citizens are aware of this, but feel helpless when it comes to trying to fix it. If everyone is corrupt, and everyone who moves into power is corrupt, then how can you possibly change the system?
That is where compliance officers come in. Compliance officers are paid to pore over a company’s files and procedures to search for any ethical conflicts or regulatory issues.
The job is very complex. Compliance officers need to know the laws of many different countries, as most of the businesses they investigate are multi-national. They deal with banks, insurance companies, and casinos to ensure that they are playing by the rules and not taking advantage of the system in some way.
Political contributions are especially scrutinized. There are a lot of legal limitations as far as who a corporation can donate to. There’s limits both in which states this can be done in, as well as which political parties. The definition of what a lobbyist is has changed and compliance officers have the ability to discern when someone in a corporation is acting like a lobbyist.
Most compliance officers stumble on the profession. Most of the time, their former jobs were as lawyers or accountants. The demand for compliance officers has grown because regulations continue to grow. In the wake of all of the real estate and banking scandals in recent years, there has also been a growing acknowledgement that things have gotten out of hand and need to be reigned in.
Helane Morrison was a compliance officer for over 20 years, part of which time she has spent at Hall Capital Partners as their Chief Compliance Officer. Prior to that, she was a lawyer who conducted internal corporate investigations with the SEC, San Francisco division, so she’s been digging in to the affairs of corporations for her entire career.
During her time as a compliance officer, Helane Morrison has exposed Metropolitan as trying to inflate their value by making questionable purchases of property that they themselves own.
As time rolls on and corporations grow ever larger, the work of compliance officers like Helane Morrison will become ever more important. The time in which we live may be marred by greed and a conflict of interests. Compliance officers and the diligence of the people are needed now more than ever.