Compliance Bits and Pieces for December 4

Here are some compliance related news stories from the past week that caught my eye.

SEC Steps up Insider-Trading Probes by Kara Scannell and Jenny Strasburg for the Wall Street Journal

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent at least three dozen subpoenas to hedge funds and brokerages within the past month in an expanding sweep of potential insider-trading violations, according to people familiar with the matter. At least some of the inquiries are focused on potential information leaks around health-care mergers of the past three years,

FINRA Fines Terra Nova Financial $400,000; Firm Made Over $1 Million in Improper Soft Dollar Payments

Terra Nova was also charged with failing to properly supervise its soft dollar program, failing to implement adequate supervisory procedures and failing to retain its business-related electronic instant messages. Terra Nova also failed to timely respond to FINRA’s requests for productions of various documents, including emails and instant messages, thus delaying FINRA’s investigation.

Ethics Bubble from Bill Piwonka on Integrity at Work

Just spent some time reviewing the Ethics Resource Center‘s 2009 National Business Ethics Survey . There’s some very interesting data in the report – some of which seems contradictory, which means I’m going to be spending more time this weekend digging into the details.

When Social Media Meld by Ron Friedmann on Strategic Legal Technology

Today, document assembly company Exari wrote the blog post The insidious nature of the billable hour. It discusses why the billable hour is a barrier to building document assembly tools. Central to its point is a Twitter conversation among Mary Abraham, Jeff Brandt, Doug Cornelius, and me [links are to Twitter]. This spurs some observations.

K-State Business Ethics Expert Offers Advice on Buying Your Boss a Holiday Gift

Diane Swanson is a professor of management and heads the Ethics Education Initiative at K-State. She said the office culture can determine whether employees should even get the boss a gift at all. If it’s tradition, breaking from it could be awkward. She said it’s up to the boss to indicate whether there is the expectation of a gift.

Dilbert on the importance of a C-level title