Category: General

Accountability: Where is the Board of Directors?

Compliance professionals like to emphasize that accountability is essential to create an ethical culture. There is no question that if a company does not hold anyone accountable for ethics and compliance issues a company is unlikely to foster a meaningful culture. To put it another way, if senior management is not held accountable for their actions or failures to act, then it is hard to...

Important Employee Values: Integrity and Trust

I have urged compliance professionals to avoid scare-tactics as a way to enhance their importance in the corporate organization. It is too easy to run around and spread fear about the importance of compliance to prevent a government investigation and prosecution. That message is too negative and turns off listeners. Moreover, everyone in senior management knows the risks of a government enforcement action. They do...

Governance, Compliance and Simplicity

I have always admired the ability of intelligent people to explain complex ideas in simple terms. Prosecutors have to explain complex facts and crimes to a jury. If you ever watch TED talks online, you can see a variety of speakers who have mastered difficult concepts and explain them in terms that are accessible to a wide audience. This same approach is needed in the...

International Coordination and Cooperation in Corruption Cases

Global anti-corruption enforcement is fast becoming a complicated affair. No longer can companies just focus on the FCPA, with momentary blips of concern for the UK Bribery Act. The OECD and other international organizations want to see aggressive enforcement around the globe, and they are doing a great job of pushing countries on this issue. Of course, the more cynical view is that more countries...

More Than Due Diligence: Never-Ending Due Diligence

Due diligence of third parties can drive you crazy. You know you are in trouble when you start babbling to yourself and others about red flags, more red flags, and even more red flags. You can start thinking that the movie, “The Shining” was a documentary depicting your third-party due diligence process. When this happens, you need an intervention. Someone has to say, enough is...

Where the Action Is: The SCCE Annual Meeting

If anyone wants proof that the compliance profession is on the rise, if anyone still doubts that the young professional of compliance is rapidly growing, all you have to do is attend an annual meeting of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (“SCCE”). I had the honor of attending and speaking the recent SCCE meeting in Chicago. What an amazing event. The energy and...

Customer Due Diligence and Beneficial Ownership

Compliance officers face lots of challenges when conducting third-party due diligence. One issue that frequently arises is determining who exactly owns a potential agent or distributor. In many circumstance compliance officers have a difficult time peeling back the layers of legal ownership, examining related party ownership stakes and other complexities designed to obfuscate the true ownership of the third-party. In the financial industry, the inquiry...

Corporate Wrongdoing and Deterrence

The debate over corporate wrongdoing, punishment and deterrence continues.   Corporations are not people but are entities that operate through collective behavior. It is interesting to consider whether individual punishment versus corporate entity punishment effectively deters corporate wrongdoing. After all, a company is only liable for individual conduct that is attributed to the organization. The issue of corporate wrongdoing is on the front burner at the...

The Human Factor: Joint Venture Partner Compliance (Part III of III)

It is time for another in my series of profound grasps of the obvious – compliance comes down to people. A company violates its code or the law because of human actions or inaction. Usually it is a conscious decision to act or not to act; sometimes, a violation is unintentional. There is what I call the human factor to compliance. I know this sounds...

Inside and Out: Anti-Corruption Compliance for Joint Ventures (Part II of III)

A joint venture can create layers and layers of risk for compliance officers. It is always good to start from the inside and work your way out. If your joint venture partner is a state-owned enterprise, or even more difficult, if your joint venture partner includes a state-owned enterprise in its ownership, the headaches can start to mount. Sometimes it is good to graph out...