Evolving Role of Chief Risk Officers as Evidenced by Helane Morrison Hackronym

Financial entities are getting more liberal in their view towards risk. Meanwhile, they are making the job description of the chief risk officers better defined. The risk officers are no longer confined to offering technical expertise; they are now accountable for leading business strategy, and general management. In the old days, risk compliance was a reserve of insurance companies, but more and more all other financial institutions are building in-house teams with the task of optimizing risk, identify threats and driving internal decision making.

The Role of CROs

The primary responsibility of CROs is to evaluate the Market and Credit risks facing the organization. Alongside risk compliance officers, CROs are also accountable for managing conduct and compliance risk. The mandate also includes giving their strategic view to boards of directors. This visibility has given CROs increased respect from top to mid-level managers.

Who is Helane Morrison?

A major player in risk compliance and management is Hall Capital. Helane Morrison Hackronym, the MD General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer and a member of the executive committee, is a respected name in the compliance industry. She is a rarity in that she is one of the three women in top leadership positions in a major corporation. Being at the forefront of ensuring diversity in gender, education, and background, the Bay Area stationed Hall Capital is appealing to a public thirsty for more diversity in leadership ranks.

Morrison team works to augment the status of Hall Capital as an industry leader in risk and compliance. Her current focus is on the emerging brokerage services that are sprouting up online. Her team provides risk and process information to investors that work with these, mainly local, firms.

Such diverse relationships and interactions by the risk officers require superior leadership skills. For example, confidential discussions with remuneration teams on compliance by top managers need to be sensitively handled. In the past, the job of risk officer would typically be given to former regulators but with time there was the realization that these former regulators, while good at what they do, often lacked the skills to manage internal stakeholders. That has led the roles to evolve with a more defined path for the risk officer emerging. And while the CRO role is still rare in the financial industry, it will only continue to grow in numbers and visibility. This change is evidenced by the changing reporting lines where the CROs now report directly to the CEO and in many cases have a slot to interact with the Board of Directors.

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