In recent years, chief compliance officers (CCOs) of financial industry firms have not only contended with ever-increasing regulation, but also been at risk of being held individually accountable for their firms’ compliance failures. As a result, there are concerns that fear of regulatory investigations and personal liability may have a chilling effect on CCOs and may discourage qualified individuals from taking on those roles. The New York City Bar Association, in conjunction with the American Investment Council; the Association for Corporate Growth; and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, recently issued a report on CCO liability in the financial sector that explores how regulators and compliance professionals can achieve the shared goals of preventing, detecting and remediating compliance failures. This article analyzes the key takeaways from the report, including the call for the issuance of more precise regulatory guidance and the development of additional means to increase cooperation and transparency between CCOs and regulators. For discussion of an SEC enforcement action that resulted in a compliance bar against a CCO, see “Absence of Harm No Defense Against Conflicts of Interest: SEC Issues Lifetime Bar From Compliance Work to CCO
” (Sep. 13, 2018).