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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seal in Washington, D.C. January 5, 2019. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

The role of any chief compliance officer is multifaceted. In the investment management space, responsibilities include ensuring all investment activities are in compliance with applicable regulations to engaging with financial regulators to answer questions and address concerns. This is a tall order for even the most experienced of CCOs—and has arguably become even taller as many have been forced to maintain sound compliance processes and controls across decentralized, remote work environments.

While the exact regulatory and cultural changes that may roll out under the new leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission remain uncertain, the list of responsibilities and critical function of a CCO to an investment adviser are always evolving. At a national seminar held by the SEC last November, the commission outlined points for how investment companies and advisers can model a regulatory compliance program to prevent violations and mitigate operational and regulatory risks, as well as focused on the importance of the CCO’s role in achieving this. So important, of course, that the CCO can be held personally liable if the firm is subject to an enforcement action.

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