Financial Regulatory Forum

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.

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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…)

Negligence charges gain clout in SEC enforcement arsenal

By Julie DiMauro

BOSTON/NEW YORK, May 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Financial services firms may face more negligence cases brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, reflecting a greater willingness by the commission to base charges on negligence findings, industry professionals were told at a Thomson Reuters forum.

“What we are seeing is a willingness to actively go out and charge negligence,” Ian Roffman, a partner at Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP, told compliance officers and others in a panel discussion on SEC enforcement hosted by the Thomson Reuters Governance, Compliance and Risk division.  (more…)

Evidence, access aid job security when compliance staff raise a red flag

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, Feb. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Two vivid reminders of the job-security perils faced by compliance officers and others who sound alarms at company practices were provided last week by a congressional hearing into the MF Global bankruptcy and a federal appeals court ruling on whistleblower law.

The risks may be part of the job, but skillful management of internal policies and wise self-protection can help avoid career-threatening retaliation, experts said. (more…)

MF Global case raises questions for director oversight of CEOs

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The collapse of MF Global and charges that millions of dollars are unaccounted for highlights the challenges that powerful corporate executives pose to a firm’s governance controls, experts said.

Jon Corzine, MF Global’s chief executive officer resigned on Friday, four days after the futures brokerage firms filed for bankruptcy. Before his time with the firm, Corzine ran the investment bank Goldman Sachs in the 90s before he went on to be a senator for the state of New Jersey. He then served as New Jersey’s governor for four years before joining MF Global in March 2010. (more…)

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