Take note, compliance: You’re out of compliance

March 24, 2014 admin

Hey, compliance people, why don’t you take a little direction instead of giving it all the time. Here is what I have to suggest: Stand down!

I’m so tired of hearing otherwise willing story sources at pension funds and investment management firms tell me they would have to jump through too many hoops with compliance to make participating in the story worth their while. When they do participate, the compliance police bludgeon the source’s comments until that are stripped of any flavor or character.

Most compliance people seem committed to making sure their employers have zero personality. They are so concerned with running afoul of SEC regulators they won’t risk the use of an adjective or action verb. Heaven forbid.

Even the SEC has relaxed its rules for marketing, but compliance still has people from top to bottom of organizations wrapped in straightjackets. When even the CEO or managing partner is fretfully mincing their words during interviews with me, it’s a sure signal compliance lawyers have run amuck.

Lawyers are basically paid to say “no.” If a lawyer says “yes” all he or she sees is legal culpability. So why say “yes” to anything when “no” is the ultimate prophylactic?

Doing nothing might keep people out of trouble, but won’t make them an agent of progress. And it doesn’t give an executive or their organization any hope of standing out in a productive way.

If compliance people cannot figure out a way to comply with SEC regulations while giving their organizations the breathing space required for bringing some character to bear, then they stink at their jobs.

Your employers just haven’t figured that out yet.

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MikeCfinalwebMike Consol is editor of The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Americas.

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