Importance of Compliance
A robust anti-corruption compliance program is essential to your company’s bottom line. A modest investment in an effective program upfront can prevent or mitigate expensive and burdensome issues on the backend.
The global marketplace is now in an era of heightened enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and similar international anti-corruption rules. Recent groundbreaking FCPA penalties, the implementation of the UK Bribery Act, increased expectations and scrutiny of global compliance programs, the training of a special FBI unit to investigate bribery, and new U.S. FCPA whistleblower mechanisms increase the need for companies to implement effective global compliance programs. Enforcement officials expect such programs to be an integral part of a company’s operations.
Without a program in place, companies and their executives face the possibility of severe fines, penalties and even jail time. FCPA violations bring other consequences. Companies are often forced to hire government-appointed monitors with intrusive and expensive access to their operations. FCPA enforcement actions can damage corporate reputations and employee morale, and inflict exorbitant legal fees and related costs. Shareholder derivative suits are becoming commonplace. FCPA violations can also damage a company’s negotiating leverage in mergers and acquisitions.
To implement an effective compliance program, companies should, at a minimum: conduct regular anti-corruption risk assessments; enact policies and procedures and internal controls; vet agents and partners; schedule trainings of employees; provide reporting hotlines; and create monitoring and review mechanisms.
Enforcement officials stress that there is no “one size fits all” model for compliance programs and that “check the box” programs are inadequate. Programs should be tailored to the company, comprehensive, communicated clearly, and enforced. They must have real substance and “top down” commitment from senior management. They should address the most sensitive areas of your business, such as the use of consultants, agents and representatives. Companies must continually evaluate their programs to ensure they are dynamic, not static.
Matteson Ellis Law, PLLC, works directly with company executives, in-house counsel, and compliance officers to develop comprehensive FCPA solutions. Our services include: