Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

Compliance professionals overwhelmingly reject general counsel reporting structure

March 11, 2013

Report: 88 percent oppose general counsel also serving as compliance officer

MINNEAPOLIS, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Compliance and ethics professionals are overwhelming opposed to corporate counsel serving as compliance officer, according to recent survey conducted by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics® (SCCE) and Health Care Compliance Association® (HCCA). The survey found 88 percent of compliance professionals reject mingling these two different and important functions; several survey respondents noted that each are full time jobs, with different responsibilities. Compliance professionals also indicated strong opposition to having the compliance officer report to the general counsel. Eighty percent of the more than 800 compliance professionals responding to this survey opposed this structure.

“Compliance professionals in the trenches have long understood the distinction between the very different mandates of Legal and Compliance, and the inherent conflicts and lack of rigor that can arise when a General Counsel also attempts to manage the organization’s compliance and ethics response. These survey results are consistent with the momentum that we have seen for the separation of the two positions and elevation of the chief compliance officer to equal status with other heads of control functions within the organization,” said SCCE and HCCA Chief Executive officer Roy Snell.

Corporate ownership structure did slightly affect survey results. For example, 73 percent of compliance professionals working in for-profit publicly traded companies answered “no” when asked should the compliance officer report to corporate counsel, yet an even higher number (88 percent of those working in not for profit organizations and 90 percent working in government) answered “no” to the same question. Either way, the compliance community’s message is clear.

Government enforcement authorities appear to agree with compliance and ethics professionals on this issue. Several recent settlements require the compliance officer to report to corporate leadership, rather than to the general counsel’s office; thus giving the compliance officer much needed independence and empowerment to carry out his or her duties.

Use one of the following links to review the complete report (sign in required)

HCCA: http://www.hcca-info.org/Login.aspx?returnurl=%2fResources%2fView%2fArticleId%2f910%2fShould-Compliance-Report-to-the-General-Counsel.aspx

SCCE: http://www.corporatecompliance.org/Login.aspx?returnurl=%2fResources%2fView%2fArticleId%2f909%2fShould-Compliance-Report-to-the-General-Counsel.aspx

About SCCE and HCCA

The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., are non-profit professional member associations that serve more than 10,000 compliance and ethics professionals globally. The associations provide resources and training to compliance professionals, including those specialized in health care, and champion ethical practices and compliance standards.

Visit SCCE’s website at www.corporatecompliance.org or HCCA’s website at www.hcca-info.org for more information.

SOURCE The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Source: PR Newswire