If you work or have worked in the energy, pharmaceutical or medical device industries you may have already experienced The Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission’s sweeping, industry-wide corruption audits. Today the DOJ and SEC are targeting a different industry, one described by Adam Hoffinger, a partner at Morrison Forester law firm, as “ripe prey.”
Which industry am I referring to? The financial industry. Why the renewed focus on finance? Two reasons: global expansion, and increased complexity.
Recently several companies on Wall Street have been indicted for violations of the FCPA, Travel Act and for money laundering. There are plenty of examples, like the employees at a US broker dealer that have been charged in a bribery scheme to win business from a foreign bank. Or the financial institution that was charged with bribing a foreign official to obtain real estate and permits. And, in yet another case, an investment firm was charged with bribing government officials to gain control of oil operations in a foreign country.
These examples are appalling, but the DOJ and SEC have made it clear that these cases should serve as a wake up call to other companies or individuals participating in unethical behavior. The DOJ and SEC are watching you, so you better make sure your anti-corruption and anti bribery training is up-to-date and that your employees are certified on them.
So what are the proactive measures financial institutions can take to prepare themselves for the extra level of scrutiny? Most importantly, don’t put your head in the sand when it comes to potential issues. Take a good, long look at the risk areas in your organization where bribery and corruption might live. Temper your global operations with a healthy dose of offshore due diligence to make sure your policies and procedures are sound and enforceable throughout your business operations, especially when it comes to foreign deals and third-parties.
These are but two factors that must buttress a comprehensive FCPA compliance program focused on anti-corruption. It’s a proven fact that the DOJ extends more leeway and is more understanding of companies that have compliance programs in place than those that do not when a problem is uncovered. Make sure your financial company has all the tools in place to conduct ethical business.
Report | Wall Street, Fleet Street and Main Street: Corporate Integrity at a Crossroads
Labaton Sucharow’s report on its survey of financial services professionals across the United States and United Kingdom reveals startling data on corporate ethics, the regulatory landscape, and individual’s willingness to blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
Get Your Report!