11 Jun 2009 08:00
Compliance Week hosts “Davos of compliance”
David Odgen at Compliance Week
Top-ranking executives from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice and national mortage broker Fannie Mae were among speakers at the recent Compliance Week conference in Washington, DC.
Luis Aguilar, one of five commissioners at the SEC, said during his opening keynote address that he supported a merger of his agency with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Department of Labor’s employee benefits security administration to create a much stronger regulatory body.
Aguilar, whose speech was covered by the Wall Street Journal and newswire Reuters, was one of a number of high-profile speakers at the event between June 3 and 5.
Bill Senhauser, the chief compliance officer of Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association), discussed the challenges he faced as his company overcame an accounting scandal, a federal consent order, restatements, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and conservatorship under the control of the federal government.
President Obama’s appointee for Deputy Attorney General, David Ogden – the second highest-ranking official in the US Department of Justice – also spoke. More than a dozen regulatory officials were also featured, and some hosted intimate, off-the-record ‘conversations’ with small groups of compliance officers.
The annual event, which Hewlett-Packard’s chief compliance officer has called the “Davos of compliance” – referring to the annual World Economic Forum meeting in the Swiss town of the same name – draws a wide range of executives across all industries and shines a spotlight on corporate executives in the trenches.
This year’s Conference drew hundreds of compliance officers from leading companies around the world including Bayer, Boeing, Ingersoll-Rand, McDonald’s, Prudential, Shell Oil, Visa and Wal-Mart.
Michael Rasmussen, a well-known compliance expert, said: “The Compliance Week Conference is one of the few events I attend that actually stretches me intellectually. This has a lot to do with the format. I have low expectations for most conferences as vendors have invaded and product pitches remain the same. Compliance Week remains one of those conferences that holds vendors at bay and requires practitioners to present.”