The fallout from the global financial crisis has seen increased corporate accountability being demanded through punitive new legislation. As a result the effects of a corruption-related enforcement action on a company can be devastating.
Now more than ever organizations need to ramp up their anti-corruption compliance programs and ensure robust internal controls are in place.
David Morris, Senior Counsel International at Northrop Grumman Corporation, is a speaker at the marcus evans 6th Anti-Corruption & FCPA Conference taking place on June 22-24 in Washington DC.
Morris points out important features of a robust compliance program that companies can undertake to not only meet the minimal expectations for FCPA compliance but exceed them.
“To achieve top tier status companies can conduct benchmarking activities relative to their industry peer companies as well as regularly conduct comprehensive internal risk assessments on a periodic basis.
“Collaboration with outside experts on these activities can be particularly helpful because they can bring an independent perspective to aid in the decision making process. In addition, there are numerous webinars, conferences, and bar association committees that provide useful practice tips and networking opportunities to stay abreast of best practices. The OECD published guidance in this area last year with their 'Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics, and Compliance' which is often cited by enforcement authorities as a model for companies to embrace.”
The effects of a corruption related enforcement action can be devastating on all of a company’s constituencies, he adds.
“For shareholders, it is fairly common to see a company’s market capitalization decline following the announcement of a government investigation or a financial reserve set aside to cover potential fines and penalties.
“In 2010 alone, there were five settlements with the DoJ and SEC in excess of $100 million. For customers and trading partners, uncertainties about the reliability of a company undergoing an enforcement action can be problematic because of the possibility of suspension, debarment, and/or revocation of export privileges in some cases.
“For employees, morale can take a hit when they observe their leaders prosecuted for criminal activity. Lastly, the enterprise as a whole can suffer because the lifecycle of a typical enforcement action (investigation, litigation, consent decree, and compliance monitor) can consume management focus for many years.”
The marcus evans 6th Anti-Corruption & FCPA Conference will take place on June 22-24 in Washington DC.
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