Category: General

The Two Most important Words in a Compliance Dictionary: Trust and Integrity

Humans have an innate desire to complicate things. When it comes to ideas, professionals are no different – compliance consultants, lawyers, financial advisers and others enjoy solving complicated problems. Such an approach, however, does a disservice to clients and other professionals. Creating complications is not a sign of professional talent; rather, an effective consultant, attorney or financial adviser should be able to take complex issues,...

Review, Revise and Re-Organize Your Company’s Internal Controls (Part II of II)

Assuming you made it through Part I of this two-part posting about internal controls, we need to consider a new approach to the design and implementation of internal controls. The first hurdle to overcome, as always, is acknowledgement that a new approach is needed. The CFO and the financial team will inevitable resist because this has long been an area where they are the experts,...

A New Approach to Internal Controls (Part I of II)

The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have dedicated more time and energy to understanding a company’s internal controls and enforcing basic requirements that companies maintain effective internal controls. For prosecutors, companies often fall short when it comes to following their internal controls. If you follow my blog, you know that I have often predicted that DOJ will eventually prosecute criminally an individual...

DOJ Compliance Expectations Concerning Training, Internal Investigations and Audits (Part IV of IV)

DOJ’s Compliance Evaluation questions provide important indications of “new” trends and approaches to compliance functions and issues. Training In the area of training, DOJ’s Compliance Evaluation reiterates DOJ’s concern that companies tailor their training programs to their specific risk profile. In the FCPA Guidance issued in 2012, DOJ explained that training programs should be tailored to specific audiences. DOJ has refined this requirement to focus...

DOJ’s Compliance Program Evaluation: Risk Assessment, Policies and Procedures and Third-Party Risk Management (Part III of IV)

To design and implement an effective ethics and compliance program, companies have to conduct a risk assessment and tailor its policies and programs to its risk profile. DOJ’s Compliance Evaluation reinforces this framework for a compliance program. Risk Assessment At the outset, a company has adopt a specific methodology for its risk assessment, the types of information it will collect and analyze, and the metrics...

DOJ’s Compliance Program Evaluation: the Role of the CCO (Part II of IV)

DOJ’s Compliance Evaluation highlights important trends in the role and independence of the Chief Compliance Officer. DOJ has stopped short of requiring direct reporting of a CCO to a CEO or other senior officer but it is inching closer to such a demand. In the topic area relating to Stature [of a CCO], DOJ lists important issues for a company to consider in designing its...

Under the Dark of Night, DOJ Moves the Compliance Ball (Part I of IV)

In an unusual move, the Justice Department issued an important document in the dead of night – Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs. (Available Here). We have no explanation from the Justice Department for the issuance of this document.   I can speculate but I suspect there was a personnel issue that explained why the issue was released without notice nor explanation. Whatever the reason, the...

Parallel Universes: Antitrust Leniency and the FCPA Pilot Program

The world of science fiction can be exhilarating. If you ever read The Foundation Trilogy or Martian Chronicles, you know what I mean. The concept of parallel universes has always been an intriguing idea where believers can aspire to correct events in one universe by fantasizing about their own life in the parallel universe. How I am going to twist this concept into a compliance...

Unpacking the Justice Department’s Compliance Remediation Standards (Part I of II)

The Justice Department has a lot to be proud about when it comes to its FCPA enforcement program. In one area in particular – promoting effective ethics and compliance strategies – DOJ’s FCPA prosecutors have played a leadership role in promoting ethics and compliance programs. When reviewing the history of compliance, most practitioners point to the impact of the Sentencing Guidelines as the most significant...

The FCPA Pilot Program Disciplinary Standards (Part II of II)

Returning to the FCPA Pilot Project requirements for timely and appropriate remediation, the Justice Department added three new elements, one of which reinforces the CCO “independence” requirement. The two other elements for an effective ethics and compliance program focus on the qualifications and compensation of compliance officers. First, with respect to the structure of the company’s compliance program, the Justice Department listed the reporting structure...