Organisational whistleblowing, allowing employees and often suppliers, and in some cases even the general public to speak up, when they see something that they think is not right, is a global mega trend. It allows organisations to prevent wrongdoings from occurring in the first place, by having a way to anonymously or not report on a suspected wrongdoing. It also demonstrates an organisation´s dedication to high ethical standards and is increasingly a tool that organisations have to have in place to comply with the law, for example the French anti-corruption law, Sapin 2, to take a current example.
One of the most common questions I am asked is “to which function should the anti-corruption compliance post be attached?” As previously mentioned, it cannot be connected to an operations role for reasons of conflict of interest.
Mid-sized companies’ structure differs greatly from their larger or multinational counterparts. Multinationals, as listed companies, are obliged to have at the headquarters level, resources and processes necessary to secure compliance with regulations that apply to listed companies. These companies have been respecting other international requirements for years so do not see the addition of an investment in compliance as an excessive burden.
Latin American (“Latam”) countries are generally perceived to have a high level of corruption and tolerance for this practice, as if it were part of local business environments. The average score for Latin American countries in the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index was 44 out of 100; scores below 50 indicate governments are failing to tackle corruption.
A few months after the publication of the ISO 37001 standard, ETHIC Intelligence was carrying out its first ISO 37001 certification. Later, I received feedback from the Compliance Officer of that certified company. He stated that the ISO 37001 audits had strengthened the organization’s compliance culture thus rendering the compliance program more effective.
Wendy lived through an eleven-year battle against corporate corruption in a case known as South Africa’s Enron, the biggest corporate disaster in South Africa’s history. Since securing justice she has maximised her experience through the study of social psychology and the neuroscience of decision-making at Stanford University in addition to being accredited to train for Social FitnessTM, a course developed over 25 years at Stanford by Professor Emeritus Philip Zimbardo and Dr Lynne Henderson, Ph.D.
This chapter’s title is a little provocative. The role of the Chief Compliance Officer is not to increase profit but to ensure that business is conducted in complete respect of relevant laws.
Organisations have been externalising their whistleblowing arrangements through third party providers for many years now.
Some have done so, so as to conform with legislative requirements.
Some have done so because their peers have done so.
Some have done so because they required to tick a box in their compliance handbook and in an attempt to present an outward appearance of ethical transparency and excellence.
The ISO 37001 is a new anti-bribery standard that could significantly help businesses thrive in a challenging global environment. It won’t open any pod bay doors, but it brings to organizations a much-needed level of anti-bribery guidance, combined with meaningful incentives for standard adoption. And it’s applicable to all institutions, regardless of size, structure, geography, or jurisdiction.
The question of what budget should be allocated to anti-corruption compliance is a difficult one for any company. For Top Management, compliance has a cost – undoubtedly necessary – whose expenditure cannot be reconciled in a tangible manner or with a physical receipt. The impossibility of defining return on investment often results in the compliance budget being kept to a minimum. The Compliance Officer, on the other hand, is aware of an allegation or act of corruption’s potentially dramatic effects on the company and views a compliance budget as a sort of insurance policy which should cover the company’s identified risks to an appropriate degree.
When we think of corruption, we automatically associate the word with a state of rotting affairs, events pernicious to our health and/or that of our countries. Such images are only natural, as historically the term was first associated with the decay in moral standards and only later did it assume legal connotations. Its conspicuity in the media is a relatively recent feature, however. Since the mid ’90s corruption has become a regular feature of front pages and TV reports throughout the “free” developing world, as well as a regular topic of conversation in many industrialized nations.
In October 2016, Tim Sloan, the new CEO of Wells Fargo (WFC) and successor of John Stumpf who has been accused of allowing fraudulent practices to occur within Wells Fargo for years unobstructed, stated, “as the new CEO, my immediate priority is to restore trust and confidence in Wells Fargo. We are fully aware of the fact that it will take time and a lot of energy to rebuild our reputation. We have made mistakes and we apologize.”
Compliance Officers have long been preoccupied by their potential exposure to legal liability; worries seemingly justified by recent cases of prosecutions – and convictions – of compliance officers.
The B20 stands for “Business 20”. It is the voice of global business in the political discussions held by the Governments of the twenty, economically strongest developing and developed, countries, the “G20”.
The ISO 37001 standard declares: “This document specifies the implementation by the organization of policies and procedures and controls which are reasonable and proportionate”. Two lines later it states, “this document can help the organization implement reasonable and proportionate measures designed to prevent, detect and respond to bribery”.
The African Development Bank estimates that USD 148 billion is lost to corruption in Africa every year. While sub-Saharan Africa has become a commercially significant market, bribery and corruption risks are deterring higher rates of investment and the ability of companies to conduct business fairly on a level playing field. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) together with the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently published an Anti-Bribery Policy and Compliance Guidance for African Companies (‘Guidance’) as a practical tool to help raise awareness of anti-bribery compliance measures.
On February 8, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued guidance on the “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” (the “Compliance Evaluation Guidance”).1 In deciding whether to charge a business organization, the DOJ asks these “common questions” regarding an organization’s pre-existing compliance program and its remedial efforts.
Richard Bistrong has been contributing to the ETHIC Intelligence Experts’ Corner for a couple of years now, but he usually does it from the comfort of his office. This time, however, with the termination of probation and return of his passport in January 2017, he has been traveling. Richard has recently visited Beijing and Shanghai to address law firms, multinationals, and cross-industry compliance groups. He shares some of his observations of corruption prevention and compliance in China.
Companies and public entities that are covered by the new French Anti-Corruption law, Sapin II, are required to adopt a compliance program that includes an internal whistleblowing mechanism “to allow employees to report acts or behaviors that violate the company’s Code of Conduct”.
Thank you so much for having me! The new book is called the Wildly STRATEGIC Compliance Officer Workbook, and the goal of the book is to transform compliance professionals from fire-fighters into in-demand business assets by using planning and strategy secrets.