A “culture of compliance” of course has many benefits, chief among them keeping a firm’s principals out of court, or worse, jail.
It saves in litigation fees and judgments and, less overtly, auditors are more likely to let the little things slide if advisors can demonstrate that organized compliance policies and procedures are in place. Which is all great, but the main reason for a strong culture of compliance has a critical ethical component—to protect the client.
It’s why creating the positon of Chief Ethics Officer might be preferable to the position of Chief Compliance Officer that many firms currently have in place. If the advisor is truly ethical, then they’re compliant as well.
Let’s compromise; we’ll add one more person to the company C-suite and create the position of Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO). It’s something that popped up on JDSupra.com in a story by Michael Volkov on the compliance and ethics trends for 2015.
Beginning with the business benefits of a culture of ethics; he argues it can quickly move a company “from neutral to a high gear where productivity and performance can improve,” according to the article. “Rather than responding to the risk of the day, the company can adapt its existing ethics and compliance program with improvements that have lower marginal costs than those risks that have to be addressed by a company with a deficient culture of compliance.”