At the inaugural CCOutreach National Seminar, held last Monday at the Washington headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox spoke about compliance issues faced by chief compliance officers, and the role these compliance professionals play within in their firms.
Cox pointed out that "one-size-fits-all" does not apply to CCOs, because advisory firms all differ from each other in client base, services, investment expertise and organizational structure. "No two advisory firms are exactly alike," he said.
Noting that CCOs are the ones who have the "firsthand view" of possible susceptibilities in compliance systems, Cox called on these officers to continue to have the fortitude to stand up to others at their firms.
"My challenge to you is not to let down your guard. Just because compliance policies and procedures are now in place, it is hardly the case that they can be trusted to run themselves," Cox told CCOs. "By your words and example, you have got to reinforce the idea that respect for a firm's compliance responsibilities and recognition of the primacy of the clients' interests, are essential."
CCOs must stay ahead of business advancements, because they often bring about new compliance issues that could mean potential harm for investors, Cox added. "It is the CCO's job to stay one step ahead of these business innovations," he said.
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