Compliance professionals work in modern, well-lit offices and use the latest computers and office equipment to do their jobs. At large firms, a chief compliance officer (CCO) will be assisted by a staff of five to 10 or more people. At small firms, the CCO may be the only compliance professional. This job can be extremely stressful—especially as a result of growing federal scrutiny of the hedge fund industry. The Securities & Exchange Commission is seeking to hold compliance officers personally responsible for fraud that happens under their watch. SEC chairman Mary Jo White made the following remarks at the Securities Enforcement Forum in 2013 that might give some compliance professionals pause: “We are focusing on deficient gatekeepers—pursuing those who should be serving as the neighborhood watch, but who fail to do their jobs…. we are looking for the ‘broken windows’ in our markets—and not overlooking the small violations to avoid breeding an environment of indifference to our rules.” Despite the increased scrutiny, many compliance professionals love their jobs and enjoy the fast-paced world of hedge funds and the challenges of keeping their firms compliant with federal law.
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