TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 5, 2014) - BMO Financial Group has been recognized for its innovative approach to encouraging diversity within its suppliers' workforce and for the introduction of an enterprise-wide solution that will significantly enhance the bank's ability to manage changes to regulatory requirements and the downstream effects to compliance risk.
The 2014 Innovatio Awards were announced last night in Toronto at a gala event hosted by Canadian Lawyer InHouse Magazine.
Best Practices in Law Department Diversity – Large Department
As part of the bank's external counsel selection program, suppliers are asked to disclose the diversity statistics of their associates, partners and management committee. BMO is the first Canadian bank to make this request. The diversity statistics from the suppliers are then incorporated into the bank's Legal Group's weighted evaluation of counsel.
"Many of our Canadian legal suppliers initially struggled to provide their statistics because they did not have a voluntary employee disclosure system in place for gathering the data," said Simon Fish, General Counsel and Executive Diversity Champion, BMO Financial Group. "BMO encouraged them to obtain consent from their populations, and as a direct result, many firms are now putting in place systems to gather this important data."
According to Mr. Fish, the legal industry has an abundance of diversity-related programs or policies; however, there is very little measurement of the effectiveness of these programs. "Measurement will inform suppliers' diversity programs and with time, increase the representation and inclusion of traditionally excluded groups," he said.
As a next step, BMO is leading an initiative to organize the major Canadian banks to make similar disclosure requests in a consistent manner.
Best Practices in Compliance Systems – Large Department
BMO's Compliance Group is currently rolling out a new, innovative compliance risk-management solution in all countries where the bank operates. The solution will automate a number of manual activities and enhance BMO's compliance risk-management capabilities through improved information flows and analytics.
"The need for financial institutions to have an efficient, effective and proactive compliance function has never been greater. Our new solution will be the "book of record" for all compliance matters at BMO and will be accessible by all interested stakeholders," said Blair Morrison, Senior Vice-President and Chief Compliance Officer at BMO. "Among other things, the solution will provide automatic updates on regulatory changes and eliminate any potential bottlenecks in the information flow throughout the organization."
About the Innovatio Awards
The 2014 Innovatio Awards is the pre-eminent award program designed to celebrate innovation in house. Ultimately, it is about sharing best practices of the in-house bar to reflect the maturity of Canadian law departments. The awards recognize members of in-house departments within the Canadian legal market. These awards celebrate in-house counsel, both individuals and teams, who have found ways to show leadership by becoming more efficient, innovative and creative in meeting the needs of their clients and organizations. The Innovatio Awards were judged by a panel of highly regarded in-house counsel to determine the winners, based on a range of criteria including outcomes for the overall business, cost savings, efficiency and effectiveness. Nominations were evaluated based on small and large in-house departments. The categories include: Law Department Management, Diversity, Compliance Systems, In-house M & A, Working with External Counsel, Litigation Management, Risk Management, Tomorrow's Leader and Innovator of the Year.
This is their inaugural event.