Helane Morrison Redefines the Role of Chief Risk Officer

Chief Risk Officers are progressively broadening their scope in the contemporary corporate tasks. The CROs role is moving from the historical responsibility of developing and implementing an enterprise risk management framework (ERM) which kept them very busy and also determined the CROs priorities. The CROs share of a company’s expense went into Building risk models, developing a risk function by hiring new people and training them, enhancing systems and policies, establishing policies and their governance and reporting framework.

In most companies, CROs were not appreciated as they increased workloads, changed procedures and operations, heightened risk transparency, and made it necessary for senior management to understand and be able to use complex risk calculations and results.

Due to the CROs involvement in significant business decisions like business strategy, new products and asset liability management, the need to make risk management deeply embedded into the organization has grown. Senior managers have been accepting the CRO as a peer with an obligation and a right to present a critical and independent viewpoint.

To earn acceptance, CROs have needed to show technical expertise and competence in business acumen, communication and negotiation skills, leadership skills, and a commitment to solve issues strategically. This ensures that today’s CRO does not only focus on performance risk oversight identifying things that have, might or will go wrong. Today’s CRO is taking up operational business responsibility when necessary. This ensures that the CRO is viewed as a business partner sharing the same accountability and commitment to the enterprise success as any other person in the company.

Helane Morrison is one of the Chief Risk Officers caught up in the roles evolution. The current Managing Director and the Chief Compliance Officer of Hall Capital Partners is also a member of the Executive Committee of the firm which she joined in 2007 after heading the San Francisco Office of the United States Securities Exchange Commission. At SEC she worked as a District Administrator and also as Regional Director. Her roles included securities enforcement regulatory matters and litigation in Northern California and also in five states of Northwest.

At some point, Ms. Helane headed the San Francisco SEC office enforcement and represented the body in business, legal, and financial communities with other news media and government agencies. Ms. Morrison has worked with renown law firms like Howard, Rice, Canady, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk and Rabkin. A member of the Hedge Fund Subcommittee of the American Bar Association, and the Board of the Regional Parks Foundation, Helane is a regular speaker on compliance and legal topics that affect private funds and investment advisers.

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