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Financial Reform The Role of General Counsel in Global Information Governance

The Role of General Counsel in Global Information Governance

In March 2009, there were countless articles discussing whether the stock market had hit bottom after the financial crisis of 2008. An unprecedented sense of both personal and organizational risk influenced decision making throughout the economy. 

In 2009 President Obama introduced pending financial reform during a speech help mitigate those risks, and signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law less than a year later. With this new law in effect, the role of general counsel has evolved to include evaluating those risks and tackling the challenge of information management. Going forward a unified strategy focused on centralization of technology and information will be the hallmark of successful legal departments in an era of unprecedented regulatory scrutiny.

Legal executives demonstrating dynamic and diverse leadership while armed with a single platform to evaluate and securely control a vast sea of data will help navigate their organizations through a changing regulatory landscape in the financial services industry, and in the broader corporate community. Since Dodd-Frank has the potential to affect other sectors in the future due to its universal focus on enterprise risk management, corporate governance, compliance and even compensation issues, it represents the catalyst driving the evolution in how technology is applied to administer information.

This new paradigm requires enhanced record keeping, greater transparency behind business transactions, and increased regulatory oversight. It is a revised system that is meant to address the turmoil caused by the financial crisis, however the current legislation is still undergoing further revision to provide clarity around many of its provisions.

What is clear is that general counsel to entities that are primarily engaged in investing in securities will be burdened with the risk management associated with ensuring key records and audit trails are maintained and reports are filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The goal is to identify and address potential systemic risks in the system before they result in a significant market disruption.