Financial Regulatory Forum

Compliance staff can help their firms by reflecting regulators’ expectations, SEC enforcer says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Regulators and compliance and ethics officers share the goals of preventing unlawful or improper conduct and cultivating effective cultures that promote integrity and respect for the law, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said.

These goals can be better achieved through “a good compliance program” that extends throughout the business and protects it by reflecting the SEC’s expectations, Stephen L. Cohen, an SEC associate enforcement director, told members of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics last week. (more…)

Wall Street’s hot hire: anti-money laundering compliance officers

By Aruna Viswanatha and Brett Wolf, Thomson Reuters Reporting Team

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The kings of Wall Street used to be the traders and investment bankers who said yes to big deals and big trades, but today’s power brokers increasingly are the compliance officers who quite often say no to risky proposals.

As the U.S. government steps up enforcement of anti-money laundering laws, it has created a red-hot market for compliance officers, who oversee a bank’s systems that prevent it from violating regulatory requirements and monitor transactions for any suspicious activity. (more…)

U.S. Justice Department chooses former prosecutor to be HSBC compliance monitor

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, June 6 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said it has chosen a former New York County prosecutor who is known for his innovative pursuit of criminals to police HSBC’s efforts to clean up its anti-money laundering program.

The Department’s decision to announce its choice at a time when a federal judge’s hesitation to sign-off on its settlement with HSBC has raised questions over the settlement’s prospects suggests the move is an attempt to win the judge’s approval, compliance experts said. (more…)

Exclusive: Consultancies on second tier as Justice Department seeks HSBC compliance monitor

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

May 14, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Although a federal judge in Brooklyn has not yet signed-off on a deal between HSBC and the Justice Department that would settle allegations that anti-money laundering failures at the bank allowed drug cartels to launder hundreds of millions of dollars, candidates for a lucrative job policing the bank’s compliance with the pact are scrambling to win the work. (more…)

SEC has three words for hedge funds: “culture of compliance.” But what do they mean?

By Jeanette Turner, contributing author for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inevitably emphasizes the importance of an advisory firm’s “culture of compliance,” in the regulator’s speeches, panel discussions, and announcements of enforcement wins and settlements. It stresses that firms will be held accountable when their employees break the law to benefit the firm. Having a “robust” culture of compliance can help firms avoid severe financial consequences. (more…)

Future higher ethical standards will judge today’s conduct, compliance experts say

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, March 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Companies that want to manage their legal and regulatory liability and their reputational capital should treat current standards as the starting point – not the finish line – for their ethics and compliance programs, conference attendees heard Tuesday.

“Your company will be judged in the future by what it does today. Transparency is rapidly increasing, and you don’t know how it will affect your business and reputation,” one of the speakers, Dirk Mohrmann, chief executive officer of World Compliance, told attendees at the 2013 Global Ethics Summit, which was held in New York and was sponsored by Ethisphere and Thomson Reuters. (more…)

Compliance is today’s slogan for upcoming law graduates, conference speakers say

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb.13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - ”I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Plastics,” a business executive told a young Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 movie The Graduate.

Today’s one word of advice to a young lawyer could easily be “compliance,” Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard said Friday in opening a symposium on “The growth and importance of compliance in financial firms: meaning and implications.” (more…)

Internal compliance reporting programs must consider motivations for acting, experts say

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Preventing fraud, not just reacting once it occurs, should be the goal of every corporate compliance program, but business has a mixed record in encouraging employees to report suspected misconduct internally, speakers at a Thomson Reuters forum said Tuesday.

Preventing fraud and encouraging internal reporting has also been mandatory for public companies since 2002. Among other things, Section 301 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires issuers’ audit committees to establish procedures for employees to confidentially and anonymously submit concerns over questionable accounting or auditing matters. And Section 806 of Sarbanes-Oxley generally prohibits issuers from retaliating against employees for raising these concerns. (more…)

IA brief: State laws may require firms to re-think social media policies

By Jason Wallace

NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Federal and state privacy legislation aiming to protect against employer access to private social media websites may put the investment industry in a bind — unable to fully supervise social-media and electronic communications used by their representatives.

Broker-dealers and investment advisory firms have been carefully embracing social media over the last few years. Firms have shaped policies and procedures with a balance between the needs and wants of their representatives while still making it possible to supervise and ensure compliance with regulatory regulations and guidance.

(more…)

Weak U.S. legal oversight puts burden on compliance pros to protect their firms, author says

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - An inadequate government and industry response to the financial crisis will require compliance professionals to do more to protect their firms, customers and colleagues, Jeff Connaughton, who said he saw firsthand how reform withered in Congress, has told Compliance Complete.

“Until law enforcement causes actual deterrence, compliance needs to understand what institutional and retail customers can – and can’t – stomach. And those customers need to get back to performing exacting due diligence. Until we have tough law enforcement again, institutional customers will have a greater impact on Wall Street behavior than federal prosecutors,” said Connaughton, a former investment banker, aide in President Bill Clinton’s administration, lobbyist and longtime political associate of Vice President Joe Biden. (more…)

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