In the last one year, there have been accusations and counter-accusations between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Chief Operations Officers representatives. These arise from the recent cases brought about by SEC against individual CCOs for actions committed in the course of their work. I see a growing rift between the SEC and the CCOs that if not tamed can scare away qualified persons from taking over these positions.
On one hand, SEC is bent on adopting a raft of measures in its regulation roles while on the other are CCO groups complaining of witch-hunt from the commission. The groups are especially worried that the rules being proposed by the SEC are intimidating and that it is wrong to charge a CCO individually for mere negligence in the course of their work. By instituting charges and fines against individual CCOs, the groups argue that the commission will only be instituting fear and demoralizing these workers.
Distancing itself from the matter, SEC argues that no new regulations are being put in place insisting that it is only tightening the noose on already existing laws. I also sense impartiality with the body and concur with it when it rules out witch-hunt from its operations. This is informed by the fact that since 2003, the SEC has instituted more than 8,000 cases against fund management firms all of which fall within its mandate. Of these, only five have been against individual CCOs.
The commission further proves that the cases brought forward against the individual officers have been due to complete irregularity or gross negligence. This means that their actions or inactions put the investors’ funds at risk. For instance, Bartholomew, the CCO of BlackRocksAdvisers LLC was charged and fined $60,000 for failing to disclose the portfolio managers outside business interests to the company Directors and clients. Helena Morrison is one of the CCOs to be affected by these strict measures.
Helane is the current Chief Compliance Officer and managing director of Hall Capital Partners LLC. She also serves as the general counsel for the company as well serving as a member of the company’s executive committee. Helane graduated with a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University but later proceeded and pursued law from the University of California.
She has worked in various national and private firms including serving as a clerk for a Supreme Court judge. She also served as the SEC San-Francisco regional coordinator for close to 10 years. This is the expertise both in law and finance that made her a perfect choice for Hall Capital Partnership position. Her hard-hitting honesty and passion for seeking out the truth has made her an excellent compliance officer as she is relentless in her pursuit of integrity.