Compliance Bits and Pieces for February 19

Here are some interesting compliance related stories from the past two weeks. (I reserved last week for my blogoversary.)

Details Emerge on SEC Office of Market Intelligence by Bruce Carton in Compliance Week

One of the first tools that the Securities Exchange Commission launched after it ushered itself into the Internet era in the mid-1990s was the “Enforcement Complaint Center,” a fancy name for an e-mail box at the SEC where the public could send tips. The Enforcement Complaint Center initially received only about 20 complaints per day, but that number snowballed through the years. Today it’s not uncommon for the ECC to receive up to 1,000 e-mail tips per day.

Morningstar acquires footnoted!

For the past 6 1/2 years, we’ve written frequently about various mergers and acquisitions. Today, we have some M&A news of our own: Morningstar (MORN) has acquired footnoted.org. You can download the official press release here, but I wanted to personally share with you why I’m so excited about this deal and why I think Morningstar, which is already well known for its independent research, is the perfect partner to help me continue growing footnoted.

Blizzard Ethics and Parking Space Etiquette by Jack Marshall of Ethics Alarms

The Great Blizzard of 2010 inspired The Washington Post to publish a piece about snow ethics, focusing especially on this touchy question: Is it ethical to park in a space shoveled out by someone else? The problem with the article is that it doesn’t ask the ethically crucial second question: Is it ethical for someone to hold one of the rare cleared parking spaces on the street open, when other motorists desperately need a place to park?

Corporate Backlash to Social Media by Gil Yehuda

A recent post titled “Company Forces Employee to Delete LinkedIn Profile” reminded me of the reality of the corporate mindset.  The post describes the reaction to the news that employees in this one firm can no longer have a private LinkedIn profile as a result of how the company interpreted the FINRA guidelines.

Financially Justifying Ethics: A Faustian Bargain? by Charles Green in Trusted Matters

Many readers are familiar with Goethe’s Faust in which the protagonist sells his soul to the devil in return for having his way here on earth. Those who are not familiar with it will find the same theme echoed in Robert Johnson’s Crossroads song, in which the singer sells his soul to the devil in return for fame as a bluesman. . . . But never mind. What I want to talk about is the justification of ethical corporate behavior by referring to its profitability. It is, I suggest, a slippery slope.

Calpers names firms not responding on placement agents in The Washington Post

Calpers, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, released late on Wednesday a list of 11 firms with which it has invested that did not reply to its request for information on their use of placement agents, who are at the center of a probe of New York’s pension fund.

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