A new company that convinced many to invest is now facing sanctions and a criminal probe. The company was in freefall and announced they had hired a compliance officer. Too little too late? I posted an update on LinkedIn and received many comments like this one, “I still wonder why there was not more “vetting”” by the financial, business, and scientific communities…”
I replied that I thought he was profoundly correct. I told him he was just ahead of his time. Investors will figure this out eventually. Compliance professionals are being hired in droves now to prevent, find, and fix ethical and regulatory problems. More importantly, they will soon be hired for not only vetting investments, but also for vetting acquisitions/mergers. They will have independence and begin to play a key role in the boardroom.
I have seen a couple of trends emerge with a front row seat. In the early 80s I was the first direct hire by a major company to support microcomputers. Some IT folks said, “Get those toys out of here, if we put computing in the hands of the end user there will be chaos.” I was thinking that the PC thing was going to be huge. I wondered how could I be in disagreement with so many knowledgeable people?
Then I was hired as a compliance officer at a major University in the mid 90s. I thought, “This compliance program thing is going to be big.” People with more experience than I had said it was a passing fad. It reminded me of my previous experience.
I believe compliance and ethics officers will be involved in due diligence relating to investments, acquisitions, and mergers, have a C-Suite level job, independence and be selected for Board positions. Some of these things are happening now but I am often told it’s not going to be commonplace. As a result of my previous two experiences I now believe you have to have experience in the field you are making predictions about in order to make correct predictions. This is going to be big. Compliance and ethics officers are a solution to a problem. Countries and companies that have more trust will have more success in the global economy. Compliance and ethics officers have the skills many people need. I will take 10,000 shares of Compliance and Ethics Officers please.
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