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Critical Skills for High-Performance Compliance Professionals: CCO Liability: Are You a Target?

May 20, 2021
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
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Course Description:

Questions of CCO personal liability have been a subject of discussion for many years, as it has been the subject of high-profile SEC enforcement cases. Last year brought renewed attention to the issue as the New York City Bar issued a report on CCO liability in the financial sector and SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce spoke on the need for a new liability framework.

It is time to take stock in the risks and obstacles compliance professionals face and how best to address them. This session will review recent industry reports, regulatory cases and speeches and discuss what works, what doesn’t work and what needs to be addressed in the question of liability. How do we protect ourselves and keep good people in the profession of compliance? This program will bring together industry experts and your peers to provide a practical, real-world assessment of our personal liability.

Learning Objectives

After attending this session, you should be able to:

  • Analyze the three broad categories where CCOs have been charged and how they may impact your efforts
  • Evaluate your risks and obstacles in achieving regulatory and compliance program goals and approaches that peers have used and continue to use to address them
  • Assess the recommendations and guidance being contemplated to ensure a better framework is developed for CCO liability

This virtual course is being taught as part of the Spring 2021 Virtual Compliance Conference. To learn more, visit our main conference webpage.

Karen Aavik
Director of Data PrivacyBank OZK


Karen Aavik is the Director of Data Privacy for Bank OZK. Prior to that she served as the Chief Compliance Officer of Stratos Wealth Partners. As CCO, Ms. Aavik oversaw all brokerage and advisory compliance matters for Stratos, focusing on ensuring that its advisers, partners, and staff operated in accordance with SEC and FINRA rules and requirements. Other previous roles include serving as an Enterprise Risk Officer at Wells Fargo and a Compliance Executive with KeyBank, N.A., where she led a compliance team that provided support for, and oversight of, numerous bank- and investment-side lines of business, functions and disciplines across the organization. Ms. Aavik was the Wealth Management Compliance Officer, the Ethics Officer and the Privacy Officer for First Niagara Financial Group, and an Assistant General Counsel in the First Niagara Legal Department. She also held a number of embedded and oversight compliance risk roles in support of the Investment Group of M&T Bank.

Ms. Aavik holds a J.D., LL.M. with Honors and M.B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a member of the New York State Bar. She has the CCEP, CFE, CAMS, CGSS, and NRS IACCP designations; earned the CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPT, and CIPM privacy credentials; and was FINRA Series 4, 7, 24, 53, and 63 licensed. Ms. Aavik has contributed to articles regarding cybersecurity requirements within the investment industry and authored the “Compliance in a Bank Investment Program Environment” chapter for Modern Compliance: Best Practices for Securities & Finance (Vol. 2). She was featured in the January 2018 edition of Compliance & Ethics Professional Magazine, and currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Financial Compliance.


Kurt Wachholz
Director of Education, Executive ConsultantNRS


Kurt Wachholz has been in the financial services industry for almost three decades. As an executive consultant, Kurt provides thought leadership and conducts examinations, audits, and program reviews. As director of education, Kurt oversees the development and administration of two compliance professional programs: the Investment Adviser Core Compliance certificate program and the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional® designation. Both professional development programs are co-sponsored with the Investment Adviser Association.

Kurt is a frequent industry speaker at conferences, topical symposiums, and online seminars. He has developed and taught “Ethics in Leadership”, a MBA program module for the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He has developed and taught “Regulatory Jeopardy”, an elective course for the Securities Industry Institute® in partnership with SIFMA and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a contributing author and member of the editorial board for Modern Compliance: Best Practices in Securities and Finance and an editorial board member for the Journal of Financial Compliance.

Kurt earned his BA from the University of Wisconsin and his Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional designation. Kurt has been a business owner and holding company partner and served as a CTO, COO, CCO, OSJ/registered principal, investment adviser representative, and licensed insurance agent.


For Whom: Designed to increase the professional competence of Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers.

Suggested Skill Level: Intermediate

Maximum Recommended Credit Hours for this session will include CLE, CFP, IACCP® and CPE.

CA MCLE = 120 minutes
CFP = TBD
IACCP® = 120 minutes
CPE = 120 minutes

For more information, check out the NRS Continuing Education Guide.