Author: Michael Volkov

Lawyers and Culture in the Financial Services Industry

The rise of the compliance profession has had a number of positive impacts on the corporate governance landscape. One of the most important results has been increased focus on corporate culture. Chief compliance officers recognize that they are the guardians of the company’s culture (assuming the company does not have a separate Chief Ethics Officer). Some companies have recognized the importance of ethical business decision-making...

Legal and Compliance Coordination – An Essential Foundation to an Effective Compliance Program (Part IV of IV)

Here is a profound grasp of the obvious – Lawyers can be difficult people. Some like to condemn the profession in its entirety (and carry with them a collection of lawyer jokes). As an attorney, I beg to differ. Many professions include and reward difficult people. For example, CEOs have the highest incidence of psychopathy among professionals. Lawyers are no different and expected to zealously...

Webinar: Antitrust Training: Avoiding Criminal Cartel Risks

Webinar: Antitrust Training: Avoiding Criminal Cartel Risks Tuesday, March 28, 2016 12 Noon – 12:30 CST Sign Up Here Free and fair competition in the marketplace benefits consumers.  But when organizations collude with their competitors, it inhibits the competitive process — and violates antitrust laws. So, how can you avoid criminal arrangements and interactions with your competitors? Join Michael Volkov, CEO of The Volkov Law...

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You — Business Buy-In to Compliance Functions (Part III of IV)

We all know that a compliance program without business buy-in is, by definition, an ineffective compliance program. The level of business support ranges from “mouthing” support to full-fledged embrace and ownership of compliance program controls. By “mouthing” support, I am referring to business staff who say they understand compliance, use the right words reflecting an understanding of compliance issues, but they fail to attend to,...

Bridging the Gap: Uniting Compliance and Financial Controls (Part II of IV)

A Chief Compliance Officer has a number of important relationships to attend to in the corporate governance landscape. A critical relationship needed to “operationalize” a compliance program is a partnership between a CCO and the Chief Financial Officer and its key constituents, including the Internal Auditor and Comptroller. Unfortunately, a recent survey (Here) revealed that only 37 percent of CFOs actively participate in their company’s...

Operationalizing Compliance – Natural Partners and Breaking Down Walls (Part I of IV)

An effective compliance program is built on internal coordination and relationships. Applying the Justice Department’s terminology, an effective compliance program is one that is operationalized. At first glance, you may think this is something new. It is not. The Justice Department’s adoption of the term “operationalized” is meant to distinguish between a compliance program that exists on paper versus a compliance program that is implemented...

DOJ’s Compliance Program Evaluation Guidance

The Justice Department’s recent guidance on compliance programs, consisting of 110 separate questions, organized around specific compliance topics, has raised a number of interesting procedural and substantive issues. From an enforcement standpoint, how will DOJ prosecutors use the questions in negotiating FCPA enforcement settlements? The possible weight given to the factors will vary depending on a number of factors, including the nature and scope of...

Managing Your Ethical Culture: Measure, Intervene and Remediate

In the wake of ever-constant business scandals (e.g. ZTE, VW, Takata, Odebrecht), chief compliance officers have to refresh their approach and strategy. Everyone agrees, or at least I think they should agree, that a company’s most effective control is its culture. For CCOs, selling the board and senior executives on this point should not be very hard. The research and common sense often come together...

Welcome to New Sponsor: Exiger, a Global Governance, Risk and Compliance Leader

I am proud to announce a new sponsor, Exiger, a well-known leader in governance, risk management and compliance services. Exiger assists organizations worldwide with practical advice and technology solutions to prevent compliance breaches, respond to risk, remediate major issues and monitor ongoing business activities. Exiger’s unique blend of industry expertise in financial crime compliance, diligence, and investigations uniquely positions Exiger to help organizations with actionable...

ZTE Pays the Price for Circumventing Sanctions and Export Controls

Here is a real zinger – clients sometimes do not tell their lawyers the truth. I will wait a minute while you get off the floor because I know everyone is shocked and amazed that this happens. But in the recent ZTE case, which we will discuss, the client company lied several times to its in-house and outside counsel resulting in false representations to the...