The FCPA Report

The definitive source of actionable intelligence covering the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Articles By Topic

By Topic: Ethics

  • From Vol. 5 No.12 (Jun. 15, 2016)

    Board Responsibility for Ethics and Compliance

    In recent months, the DOJ and SEC have made it abundantly clear that they are focused on prosecuting individuals for their part in FCPA violations. In light of this additional attention, board members and others responsible for company compliance programs must be even more diligent about meeting their obligations. In a recent conversation with The FCPA Report, Jean-Marc Levy and Susan Divers of training, advisory and education company LRN discuss the nature of a board’s compliance and ethics responsibilities and provide suggestions for how board members can fulfill their anti-corruption compliance duties. See “Directors and CCOs Share Insights on Maximizing a Board’s Impact on Compliance” (May 4, 2016).

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  • From Vol. 5 No.1 (Jan. 13, 2016)

    Experts at GE and LRN Say Think Globally, Act Locally to Build a Stronger Global Compliance Program

    Without a strong corporate culture, leadership and planning, a compliance program can get lost in a miasma of legal and cultural differences. At a recent PLI workshop, Felipe Paez, chief compliance officer of GE Global Research, and Mark Rowe, an ethics, compliance and culture strategist and advisor at LRN, discussed how companies can create (and how GE has created) a global compliance program by thinking globally, acting locally and using codes of conduct and investigations as tools to build an ethical culture and strong world-wide compliance program. See “Google, Boeing, Walmart and PwC Leaders Share Strategies for Overcoming Cultural Hurdles in Compliance” (Apr. 29, 2015).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.20 (Oct. 7, 2015)

    Eight Ways Compliance Officers Can Build Relationships with the “Middle”

    The much-talked-about “tone at the top” is often cited as crucial for an effective compliance program.  Ensuring that that tone is conveyed throughout the organization, however, is equally important.  Getting the compliance message across typically falls on an organization’s middle managers.  A recent Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics program featuring Charlotte Nafziger, director of compliance of T-System, Inc., explored the importance of middle management in developing an effective ethics and compliance program and the ways compliance officers can engage middle management in doing so.  See also The FCPA Report’s three-part series, “How to Build a Compliant Culture and Stronger Company from the ‘Middle,’” Part One (Apr. 1, 2015); Part Two (Apr. 15, 2015); and Part Three (Apr. 29, 2015).  

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  • From Vol. 4 No.9 (Apr. 29, 2015)

    How to Build a Compliant Culture and Stronger Company from the “Middle” (Part Three of Three)

    During the last decade, conversations about a company’s compliance messaging have shifted from a focus on tone at the top to a more holistic approach emphasizing tone at every level of the company.  Today, tone in the middle is a crucial element of effective compliance communications, Jennifer Newstead, a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, told The FCPA Report.  This article, the third in a series, details ten actions middle managers can take to spread the compliance gospel and provides strategies for monitoring tone.  The first article discussed who the “middle” actually is, why tone in the middle matters and the challenges of creating a compliant tone.  The second article outlined eight steps companies that are implementing or revamping compliance programs can take to support middle-level compliance messaging.

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  • From Vol. 4 No.8 (Apr. 15, 2015)

    How to Build a Compliant Culture and Stronger Company from the “Middle” (Part Two of Three)

    Effective compliance initiatives must move beyond the board and C-suite and infiltrate the entire organization.  The key to that infiltration is reaching middle managers who are on the ground with employees.  Fostering a compliant tone in the middle, however, requires coordinated efforts by company leadership and the compliance department.  The FCPA Report’s multi-part series is designed to help companies assess their current culture and strengthen their tone in the middle.  This article, the second in the series, details eight steps companies that are implementing or revamping compliance programs can take to support middle-level compliance messaging.  The first article discussed who the “middle” actually is, why tone in the middle matters and the challenges of creating a compliant tone.  The third article will address actions that middle managers can take to emphasize compliance and strategies for monitoring tone.  See also “Customizing Codes of Conduct to Spread the Message of Compliance,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Mar. 4, 2015).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.7 (Apr. 1, 2015)

    How to Build a Compliant Culture and Stronger Company from the “Middle” (Part One of Three)

    Tone at the top has been a compliance talking point for years, but as compliance programs mature, tone at the top is no longer enough.  “A tone at the top approach alone is not likely to reach as effectively the groups of employees who make real decisions that are going to affect the business,” Jennifer Newstead, a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, told The FCPA Report.  To effectively spread the compliance message, companies must also focus on tone in the middle.  This multi-part series will assist companies in evaluating their current culture and enhancing their tone in the middle to strengthen their compliance program.  This, the first article in the series, will discuss who the “middle” actually is, why tone in the middle matters and the challenges of creating a compliant tone.  Future articles will specify: how a company should prepare middle managers to spread the compliance message, actions that middle managers can take to emphasize compliance, and strategies for monitoring tone.  See also “Five Tools Every Chief Compliance Officer Needs for Effective FCPA Compliance: Title, Authority, Access, Budget and Culture (Part Two of Two),” The FCPA Report, Vol. 2, No. 8 (Apr. 17, 2013) (discussing tone at the top).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.3 (Feb. 4, 2015)

    Compliance Experts Discuss Setting the “Tone in the Middle”

    In the realm of ethics and compliance, there is a great deal of emphasis on setting an appropriate “tone from the top.”  However, a lot can be lost in translation as that message reaches – or does not reach – the broader employee population.  One way to assure that that message reaches its intended recipients, and achieves its intended effect, is to have managers set an appropriate “tone in the middle.”  A recent program sponsored by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics explained why setting the tone in the middle can help to achieve ethics and compliance goals and discussed strategies for setting that tone, as well as potential impediments to doing so.  The program featured Michael Levin, Senior Director of Compliance at Freddie Mac; and Kirsten E. Liston, an Associate Vice President of SAI Global Limited.  See also “Measuring the Efficacy of Ethics and Compliance Programs,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 12 (Jun. 11, 2014). 

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  • From Vol. 4 No.3 (Feb. 4, 2015)

    Using Behavioral Psychology Tools to Leverage Compliance Resources

    How can simple communication tools increase the impact of a compliance program, without significantly increasing the budget?  A recent program offered by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) explored how principles of behavioral psychology can be used to enhance the effectiveness of a compliance program – with a low price tag.  The program was hosted by the Adam Turteltaub of the SCCE and featured Virginia MacSuibhne, Chief Compliance Officer of Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.  See also “Strategies for Justifying Compliance and Ethics Budgets,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 24 (Dec. 3, 2014). 

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  • From Vol. 3 No.13 (Jun. 25, 2014)

    Ernst & Young’s Fraud Survey Warns of Anti-Corruption Complacency

    Despite the government’s continued focus on anti-corruption compliance, Ernst & Young’s 2014 Global Fraud Survey suggests “that companies continue to struggle to respond appropriately to fraud and corruption risks,” Brian Loughman, of EY’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, told The FCPA Report.  Perhaps even more troubling, “a substantial minority of people in the C-Suite appear, at least based on the survey responses, to condone unethical and potentially illegal conduct when their businesses are under pressure,” he said.  The FCPA Report examines the findings and implications of the survey.  See also “Ernst & Young Experts Reveal How Forensic Data Analytics Can Transform Anti-Corruption Compliance,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 9 (Apr. 30, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 3 No.12 (Jun. 11, 2014)

    Measuring the Efficacy of Ethics and Compliance Programs

    What exactly makes one anti-corruption compliance program effective and another, that appears to have the same elements, fail to detect and prevent violations?  “It’s all about the culture,” Wayne Brody, a senior advisor at LRN, an ethics and culture advisory firm, told The FCPA Report.  That culture is not intangible, Brody said – effective programs share certain characteristics.  In its 2014 “Ethics and Compliance Program Effectiveness Report,” LRN detailed the results of its extensive research, extracting the factors most commonly associated with an effective compliance program by using its proprietary Program Effectiveness Index.  See “Anonymous Polling, Focus Groups and ‘Organizational Justice’ Help Companies Avoid FCPA Violations While Growing Revenue,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 1, No. 9 (Oct. 3, 2012).

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  • From Vol. 1 No.10 (Oct. 17, 2012)

    When and How Should Outside Counsel Withdraw from an FCPA Representation or Report Violations to Authorities?

    When an attorney discovers, or strongly suspects, that bribery is taking place, or will take place, at a company she represents, but the company refuses to act, what should the attorney do?  The recent Wal-Mart revelation that the company allegedly thwarted the 2005 recommendation of outside counsel to conduct a thorough anti-corruption investigation is just one example of a potentially difficult situation for counsel.  When should an attorney withdraw from an investigation to protect herself from being complicit in the bribery?  When should she report the client to the government?  The attorney client privilege provides significant protection for attorneys when they learn of a violation, but that protection is not iron clad, especially as authorities say that they will not hesitate to prosecute lawyers who are involved in a client’s corruption.  Additionally, attorneys must weigh their reputations with other clients and with the government.  This article provides context and practical guidance for counsel facing the thorny question of withdrawal.  In particular, this article discusses: the legal and regulatory landscape, including ABA Model Rules and SEC rules that discuss withdrawal, reporting and the scope of the attorney client privilege; recent cases where attorneys withdrew from representation or were implicated in a client’s bad acts; considerations regarding how to document the representation to ease or prevent withdrawal later; factors that influence a decision to withdraw and whether to withdraw “noisily” or not; and when and why an attorney may want to report a violation to authorities.

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