The regulators are cracking down on the people inside advisory firms responsible for enforcing policy: the compliance officers themselves.
A few high-profile cases have seen compliance officers brought into SEC hearings for failing to fire brokers who break the rules.
Even if a compliance officer's recommendations are overturned by higher-up executives in the company, they're apparently still liable -- or at least subject to queries.
Unfortunately, no hard-and-fast rulings have come down yet, but the signal is clear. Compliance means not just monitoring activity, but discipline as well.
On the asset management front, Bruce Karpati, who co-runs that side of the SEC's enforcement division, warns that tighter oversight is on the way as well.
Watching the compliance team puts pressure on them to watch their firms and speak up loud and clear when something goes wrong.