Tagged: Ethics and Compliance

Wells Fargo’s Desperate Need for a Compliance and Business Ethics Function (Part III of III)

While reading the independent directors’ report on the Wells Fargo sales incentives scandal, you will be overwhelmed by the feeling of frustration. At the same time, what is described in the report is the extent to which every control function came up against the problem staring them in the face – Wells Fargo’s sales incentive program was out of control. Notwithstanding the 20-20 hindsight pictured...

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...

When Tone at the Top Is Missing

We all tend to gloss over a critical requirement for an effective ethics and compliance program – tone-at-the-top. I hate to be dogmatic about the issue but, as Mel Brooks said in the Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 4, Episode 1), “You either got it or you ain’t.” The same is true for the board, CEO and senior executive commitment to ethics and compliance. Every Chief...

Creating a Valuable Training “Program”

We all know the scene but choose to ignore it – a senior employee or manager is taking an online training course and is talking on the phone, writing emails and basically ignoring the training session. Why? Because it has no importance to the employee’s job. It is irrelevant but something he or she has to complete. A check the box task if ever there...

Yates, Whistleblowers and FCPA Pilot Project: Re-Examining Your Internal investigation Protocols

Companies face an ever-changing constellation of risks, enforcement priorities and demands for internal controls and compliance program elements. As more resources are poured into government enforcement programs, companies have to “reinvent” compliance programs to incorporate new priorities and demands. Many companies have established complaint systems and internal investigation programs to conduct routine and serious investigation. In most cases, these systems do not adequately address whistleblower...

Third Party Risk Management Not Just Due Diligence

The term “due diligence” is an overused expression in the compliance world. It has become a term to mean heightened concern or investigation. No one can really define what it means except to say it has different meanings in different contexts. Some would say it is a term of art in the legal and compliance world. It is misleading to add the term “investigation” to...

Headlines from Mid-Year FCPA Enforcement Review

Just to add my voice to the cottage industry surrounding FCPA enforcement and compliance, I wanted to take a deep breath and offer some observations on FCPA enforcement in 2016. There are a few significant headlines for the year so far, and I suspect more to come as we get close to the end of the year when FCPA enforcement usually picks up a little...

Defining the Compliance Mission – More Than Just Preventing Violations

I am not one to beg but I have decided I have nothing to lose here – please, when it comes to compliance, everyone has to adopt a new mantra. The purpose of compliance is not to prevent legal and code of conduct violations. Such a purpose is way too limited in scope and almost guarantees failure, because at one time or another, company employees...

A Rush to Compliance: Patience is a Virtue

Compliance officers are, by definition, goal driven. They are high achievers and expect to succeed. So what. You may say – we all know that. Compliance officers are not the most patient group of people. They want to see change, improvement and action. Patience is not in their blood, nor is it their middle name(s). Unless a CCO is directed by the board or the...

Do Former Prosecutors Make Good CCOs?

A number of companies have adopted the requirement that a new Chief Compliance Office come from the ranks of former federal prosecutors. I am not sure exactly why companies have adopted this requirement. Perhaps company leaders think this will give the company an advantage when dealing with the Justice Department or the SEC. With full disclosure here, I admit my bias in favor of federal...