Lawyers, compliance professionals and senior management at companies can be obsessive when it comes to the threat of criminal liability. Please do not get me wrong, I am not minimizing the risk of criminal prosecution, nor I am suggesting that everyone go out and start paying bribes overseas.
One of the hardest issues for compliance professionals is encouraging employees to raise concerns about ethics and compliance issues. It becomes even more difficult when the government establishes whistleblower programs offering financial rewards for employees to tell the government about the problems.
“Program effectiveness” is a term ethics and compliance (E&C) professionals frequently use as they strive to understand whether or not their companies’ investment and effort are paying off.
Nothing is more important to developing and maintaining an effective C&E program than risk assessment, and effective risk assessment is, as a general matter, perhaps the most daunting task a C&E officer is likely to face.
March 10th was the 101st anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman. She was one of the greatest conductors on the Underground Railroad, which took slaves out of the old south and up to freedom in the north and into Canada. I read about her as a child and her story always moved me.
I may be getting cynical in my old age, but honesty is a rare thing these days. It seems to be getting more difficult to find honest people, especially when it comes to business. Each day we read about another scandal involving another fraudster, corrupt politician or criminal motivated by greed.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, whistleblowers have been a hot media topic lately. Snowden represents a pretty unique case, but the reality is that many companies deal with whistleblowing and its legal implications.
Companies have traditionally set ethics and compliance priorities by making policies that avoid past issues – but now, companies are encouraged to look forward and analyze a landscape of risk when it comes to compliance.
I try to avoid New Year’s resolutions because I usually do not stick to them. But the process is good as a way to organize your focus and energy. For Chief Compliance Officers, it is more important than ever to re-examine where they are professionally and set some goals for the year.
Hollywood celebrities aren’t the only ones under constant watch, scrutiny and reporting. If you are part of executive management or are a business leader, you are too, though it may be far less conspicuous.