One of the toughest jobs in the corporate world today is that of the compliance officer. One of the main reasons for this would be in the fact that they are not given enough clout in order to do an effective job. Ask any CEO and they will agree that the compliance officer is an important part of their team. They will regrettably make the concession that most compliance officers are not given the necessary power, authority and knowledge in order to properly administer their work.
Sterling CEO Kevin Wilson points out the fact that compliance officers usually are the first line of defense in advising a company on the best route to prevent damage to a particular brand name. One example of this would be in the recent Volkswagen scandal where there was an emissions software scandal. Although it would be unrealistic to expect the compliance officer to have discovered the cheating, they could have been proactive in the wake of the scandal and helped to protect the brand.
Part of the reason that compliance officers are seen as the Rodney Dangerfield of the corporate world could probably be because they get a low amount of pay. For example, a compliance officer usually makes a median income of just under $65,000 per year. In a large, multi-national corporation, it can be difficult for a compliance officer to earn any amount of respect when other high-profile executives make about 50 times that per year in salary and bonuses.
So what is a compliance officer to do? Well, for one thing they have to lessen the effect their low-paying salary has on the corporate culture by making up for it in other ways. Namely, they have to establish from the outset that they are competent at their jobs. A good compliance officer will be able to practice sound judgment; establish credibility throughout the organization; maintain cultural awareness; be able to understand legal issues; possess exceptional communications skills; and they must be extremely well-versed in problem-solving and decision making skills.
One such compliance officer who exemplifies these attributes would be that of Helane Morrison. She has developed a well-respected corporate career as a compliance officer with Hall Capital Partners. Besides being a compliance officer, she is also on the board of the Executive Committee.
Helane has a great deal of experience that she brings to her current position. Before becoming a compliance officer, she was the first woman to ever work as the regional director of the SEC. She headed the San Francisco branch of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which gave her the experience she needed to become a successful compliance officer at her current place of employment. She is definitely a “rising star” in the corporate world of compliance officers.
Learn more about Helane by connecting with her on LinkedIn.