Category: General

Compliance Program Effectiveness Requires Accountability

Compliance Program Effectiveness Requires Accountability

A compliance program requires accountability. You can have ethics and you can have compliance policies, procedures and all the bells and whistles, but someone has to be accountable. Without it, a compliance program will just float along, waiting for the next catastrophe to hit. It is hard to watch an ethics and compliance program that is adrift. My nature is to face issues, make decisions...

The Importance of Organizational Justice

The Importance of Organizational Justice

A company is its own world.  A culture of ethics and compliance cannot exist without organizational justice.  If company managers and employees perceive that the internal justice system does not work, the company will be unable to foster the critical values of integrity and trust.  The company’s culture will become stale, distrust and fear will grow, and ultimately serious misconduct is more likely to occur....

Ethics and Compliance, Not Compliance and Ethics

Ethics and Compliance, Not Compliance and Ethics

I have several pet peeves in the ethics and compliance space (who knows, maybe in the personal space as well but we are all reluctant to acknowledge those except to our loved ones). I know this sounds petty but hear me out. If you look at older healthcare compliance resource documents put out by the government and industry groups you see it — references to...

Commerzbank: Remediation Under the Government Hammer and Microscope (Part III of III)

The Commerzbank bank case provides a chilling story of a systemic breakdown in compliance, and the far-reaching consequences of such a breakdown.  Even in the context of a systemic breakdown, there are valuable lessons to be learned. The first and most striking question is why did Commerzbank get a DPA at all?  BNP Paribas was forced to plead guilty and Commerzbank was given a DPA....

Commerzbank’s Compliance Catastrophe — Flouting Sanctions and BSA/AML Laws (Part II of III)

Commerzbank’s Compliance Catastrophe — Flouting Sanctions and BSA/AML Laws (Part II of III)

Sometimes a picture is very clear but legal words and concepts are proffered in an attempt to disguise and even deceive.  As set forth in the factual statements outlined by the government, and agreed to by Commerzbank, it is evident that Commerzbank had no  culture of ethics and compliance.  Instead, Commerzbank was committed, strategically and operationally, to circumventing and evading US sanctions and BSA/AML laws....

Commerzbank’s Settlement — The Government’s Frustration Boils Over (Part I of III)

Commerzbank’s Settlement — The Government’s Frustration Boils Over (Part I of III)

Global banks are caught in US prosecutor’s cross hairs.  Not only do they have to worry about basic AML compliance and enforcement, they now have major risks in sanctions compliance.  For some inexplicable reasons, global banks appear to have committed themselves to circumvent and evade US sanctions.  It is hard to justify how foreign banks reached this point but they are now paying dearly for...

Technology is Transforming Third Party Risk Management: Predicting the Future

Technology is Transforming Third Party Risk Management: Predicting the Future

I usually avoid predicting the future because I am often wrong.  But in this case I’m going to make an exception. Here is my 100 percent, sure-to-be true prediction: technology is going to change how compliance professionals do their jobs. I know this is not that risky of a prediction but I’m just getting started. Technology has changed the way business is done overall. Everyone...

When Does a CCO Need to Walk the Dotted Line to the Board?

When Does a CCO Need to Walk the Dotted Line to the Board?

Johnny Cash was a singer for the ages — little did we know one of his great songs — Walk the Line was meant for Chief Compliance Officers. Every CCO has (or should have) the authority to report directly to the board without informing senior management. In political parlance, this is the so-called “nuclear option.” The question is when does the CCO need to pull...

Practical Advice on Risk and Compliance Program Assessments

Practical Advice on Risk and Compliance Program Assessments

Sometimes the compliance industry makes things harder than they really need to be. As a result, Chief Compliance Officers are left to modify and transform practices and tools to fit the real world. I understand why CCOs do that – they are under extraordinary pressure and need to accomplish tasks without adequate resources. In my practice, I always apply this philosophy. I am not out...

Tracy and Hepburn:  CCOs and Internal Auditors

Tracy and Hepburn: CCOs and Internal Auditors

If you enjoy Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn movies like I do, you know the value of a great partnership. Tracy and Hepburn movies are classics, and their chemistry was powerful (on the screen and off). Like their relationship, the Chief Compliance Officer and the Internal Auditor can be a powerful force in corporate governance. There are so many areas where a CCO and IA...