Compliance Officer Helane Morrison Thinks Women Make Excellent Risk Managers

When Helane Morrison talks about risk management positions and compliance officer positions in the corporate world, she usually begins those conversations with the fact that women have strong communication skills, and they are focused on the small details that can be overlooked by their male counterparts. Women also believe collaboration is the third ingredient that is giving women the edge when it comes to following standards, compiling with regulations and assessing risks.

Helane Morrison speaks about compliance and risk positions with confidence because she has the experience. Morrison received her law degree from UC-Berkeley, and she also has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She is a former regional director of the Security and Exchange Commission. Morrison was responsible for policing the policies of the SEC in five states in the San Francisco region.

It didn’t take long for the investment industry to realize how competent Morrison is in several areas that pertain to investing and business. Hall Capital Partners decided that Morrison was a perfect fit, and the partners named her the Managing Director, Chief Compliance Officer and General Consul for the firm. Ms. Morrison is still a partner in the San Francisco law firm, Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.

It’s not easy to predict what tomorrow’s compliance officers will need to manage the ever-changing structure of the investment industry, but a new study suggests that the traits once expected from male leaders no longer work in the global business structure, according to Morrison. Helane said the book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, referenced a study of 64,000 people in 13 countries. The authors found that feminine characteristics and qualities are more prevalent than ever in business today, and they are highly valued.

Morrison said those characteristics are patience, intuitive thinking, consensus building, rational reasoning and a strong desire to collaborate. But the main quality that women have that men overlook is empathy.

There is a growing dissatisfaction with men in power in countries around the world, according to Morrison. Men and women agree that there is shift toward global transparency, and the old strategy of setting up the winner/loser scenario, and fostering aggression don’t seem to fit anymore. Women like to win, but they like to win as a plural and that is important for successful multiply outcomes, according to Morrison.

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