What Will Risk Management, Ethics Officers Cost?


In my continuing quest to learn as much as possible about bringing risk and compliance management to the executive level, I spoke again to Keith Darcy, executive director of the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association -- this time about how much companies can expect to spend on an executive risk manager or compliance officer.


Most importantly, Darcy says, those who make hiring decisions should see ethics and compliance officers as "an investment in good business practices that lead to organizational excellence," rather than a "cost" to the company. He adds, "Their job is to minimize the firm's ethical liabilities and maximize its ethical assets."


The size of the investment, he says, will differ. A 2006 nationwide survey discovered that pay for these executives ranges from $350,000 annually to more than $1 million per year for larger companies. In the current recessionary economy, it would be no surprise to see significantly lower salaries.


Whether a company is able to pay a large salary or a smaller one, where and how to find the money appears to be up to each company. Consulting Services Support Corp. Risk and Legal Officer Jeff Smith says:

"What I have seen recently in virtually every business is an intense squeezing of existing human resources to generate more revenue per professional. This is being done by cutting back or eliminating bonuses, freezing or lowering salaries, severely cutting entertainment or discretionary expenditures such as training, and forcing existing employees to work longer, harder, and more efficiently."

So the real question is, where are your company's priorities? They say we make time to do what we really want to do, and I think the same applies to how we spend our money.