Compliance Bits and Pieces – Good Friday Edition

The stock markets are closed, but most banks are open. I’m taking the day off from work, but wanted to highlight a few compliance-related stories that caught my eye.

Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges by Ed Yong in Discover’s Not Exactly Rocket Science

There’s an old trope that says justice is “what the judge ate for breakfast”. It was coined by Jerome Frank, himself a judge, and it’s a powerful symbol of the legal realism movement. This school of thought holds that the law, being a human concoction, is subject to the same foibles, biases and imperfections that affect everything humans do. We’d love to believe that a judge’s rulings are solely based on rational decisions and written laws. In reality, they can be influenced by irrelevant things like their moods and, as Frank suggested, their breakfasts.

Chief Compliance Officers: The Evolving Picture by Michael Volkov in White Collar Defense & Compliance

In the next five years, the position of CCO will take on a new and more dynamic role in every company. With the rise of enforcement, it is inevitable that the importance of the CCO will increase in every organization. CCOs are likely to rise in organizations to a level equal to General Counsels and Chief Financial Officers.

How Do I Know If My Company Is Compliant If I Don’t Know Every Applicable Law and Regulation? by Ted Polakowski in Corporate Compliance Insights

This is one of the hardest questions to answer since you just don’t know what you don’t know. … This is because within any country, there exist – in addition to the governmental body that creates law – many regulatory agencies that are chartered with putting the rules of operation into play. Just trying to find out who those agencies are and where they list their regulations can be a daunting task in itself.

The housing boom and bust, part 2 by Russ Roberts in Cafe Hayek

Once the price of housing started rising dramatically, it became profitable to bet on the rise continuing. So a lot of people, smart and stupid, tried to ride that meteor as it shot upward. And that’s where the shadow banking system and the low interest rates come in. The shadow bankers pumped trillions into that market via all those innovative new assets (CDO’s, CDO squared etc). They use borrowed money because they could. The lenders lent the money because the government had signaled that lenders would get made whole even when the bets their loans financed were worthless.

Richard Ford on the Meaning of Work in the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy

Work, after all — to me, anyway — signifies something hard. And while writing novels can be (I love this word) challenging (it can also be tedious in the extreme; take forever to finish; demoralize me into granite and make me want to quit and find another line of work), it’s not ever what I’d call hard. A hard job, okay, would have to be strenuous and pressurized (writing’s almost never that way). It would have to be obdurate, never offering me a chance to let up (I can quit writing any time I want to and come back tomorrow, or never). And it would have to be skimpy on personal-spiritual rewards (I’m always trying to do what Chekhov did…change the way some reader sees the world; so big rewards are always out there). In my view, being a first-year law student at Harvard would not be hard; but being a non-partnered associate at Skadden, Arps would be. Learning to play “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” on a Sousaphone would not be hard; but working on the dashboard assembly team for the Ford-150 would most certainly be. You see what I mean. Hard is staring into one of those mind-corroding x-ray machines at LaGuardia. Or taking tolls on the Jersey Turnpike.

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