Category: General

Creating an Ombudsman’s Office

If your company is big enough and has the resources to consider establishing an internal ombudsman’s function, consider yourself lucky. When compliance professionals and lawyers use the term “ombudsman,” it is important to define how the term is being used. The most effective model for an ombudsman is the creation of an entire independent investigation and resolution function within a company. In this model, the...

NYDFS Proposes to Require CCOs to Certify to Effectiveness of AML and Sanctions Programs

Just when you thought things could not get any weirder, along comes the New York Department of Financial Services and proposes a new regulation that sets forth minimum requirements for anti-money laundering transaction monitoring systems and sanctions watch list filtering. The regulations include an annual requirement that the Chief Compliance Officer at New York banks and money transmitters certifies that the bank’s or money transmitter’s...

Applying Practical Strategies to Supply Chain Risk

A Chief Compliance Officer can get so overwhelmed with risks that it is hard to keep their focus on priorities. Risks are everywhere and no compliance program can address every risk – the trick is keeping your eye on the ball and focusing on the significant risk. There are lots of risks surrounding a company’s supply chain. Unfortunately, vendors, suppliers and their respective vendors and...

Due Diligence and Beyond — Balancing Competing Priorities

DOJ’s compliance counsel, Hui Chen, pronounced this year as the compliance year of third party due diligence. This has been a good year for compliance, but I would not characterize this year as limited to third party due diligence. I am not sure why Ms. Chen focused on third party due diligence but frankly there have been a number of significant developments in compliance, including...

DOJ’s Compliance Counsel & Compliance Expectations

The Justice Department’s hiring of Hui Chen as the new Compliance Counsel is an important development in DOJ’s prosecution of corporate defendants. It is not clear yet what impact Ms. Chen will have. At a recent event at NYU (video here), Andrew Weissmann, the head of the Fraud Section, and Ms. Chen spoke about the new compliance position. The video provides important information. Ms. Chen...

The UK Bribery Act Enters a New Enforcement Era

For years, companies and compliance professionals have largely dismissed UK Bribery Act enforcement risks. Ever since the effective date for the UK Bribery Act, defense lawyers have been waiting for the SFO to begin serious enforcement actons. Last week may be the beginning of a new era in UL Bribery Act enforcement. First, a UK court approved the SFO’s first deferred prosecution agreement. Standard Bank,...

Defining Compliance 2.0: Key Compliance Partners (Part 5 of 5)

I always use the “Streetcar Named Desire” line to describe the challenges a  Chief Compliance Officer faces – CCOs depend on the kindness of strangers.  It is a little bit of an exaggeration but bear with me. CCOs are not superheroes and cannot by themselves ensure an effective ethics and compliance program. An effective compliance program depends on a positive working relationship among the key...

Defining Compliance 2.0: Senior Leadership (Part 4 of 5)

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.~ Vince Lombardi Like so many areas in life, a successful ethics and compliance program depends on teamwork. My last two postings, Parts 4 and 5, will highlight these essential partners – senior leadership and key compliance functions. In a company culture, teamwork...

Defining Compliance 2.0: The CCO (Part 3 of 5)

These are heady days for Chief Compliance Officers. Over the last 20 years, the CCO has moved from the backwater of corporate offices to the front and center of the power structure. We now have debates over the independence of the CCO from the legal function, the reporting obligations and the relationship between the CCO and the board. There is no question that CCOs have...

Defining Compliance 2.0 — The CEO (Part 2 of 5)

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. – Mark Twain We all know the obvious – a CEO’s commitment to ethics and compliance is critical to the success of a compliance program. A CEo who stands up and speaks about the company’s culture of compliance is more than a breath of fresh air – it can be the lifeblood...