I’m on my way to Houston for a gathering of some of the foremost experts on FCPA compliance, at our FCPA 2014: Tips, Trends and Technology forum, co-hosted by The Network and Oversight Systems. This is shaping up to be a real meeting of the minds, as compliance practitioners and corporate counsels from all over the region are going to have the chance to interface with legal experts such as Tom Fox, Marc Litt, Joel Androphy and Patrick Taylor, CEO at Oversight, to learn more about what’s going on with FCPA enforcement, what the future may hold, and new tools to add to their anti-bribery arsenal.
No doubt there will be buzz around what Charles Duross, the DOJ’s deputy chief for the FCPA unit, had to say before the Association of Corporate Counsel just last week. His edict was simple: Failure to report potential bribery is more perilous than ever. That should be taken as a shot across the bow for any organization that does business internationally.
Having an ear to the ground is so important for the types of compliance-focused individuals coming to our event. How is FCPA compliance and enforcement evolving? What are the new expectations from a government regulatory perspective? Do you know what will be required of your program in 2014 and beyond to address any government investigation or regulatory inquiry and answer their questions regarding your program – is it designed well, applied in good faith and does it work?
We’re planning on a collaborative session and I hope to hear how organizations are working today to strengthen their compliance programs tomorrow. Do they perform routine assessments in high-risk areas, do they actively monitor international and third-party transactions, and are they using integrated technologies to spot troublesome trends? Are they building ethical cultures that work to engage employees to be part of their anti-bribery efforts?
If our Houston compliance summit could be summed up in a one-word theme, it’s this: defensibility. And by that I don’t just mean defense in the legal sense — defending your company once the FCPA probe has been announced. Instead, I mean maintaining a sense of defensibility against even a second glance by the DOJ and SEC. Watch for bribery, establish sound policies, conduct anti-bribery training, and deal with any issue quickly and efficiently when and if it should occur.
For those coming to Houston to join us, safe travels. Check back on our blog page for a re-cap following the event. In the meantime, we would like to hear your thoughts. What are your concerns regarding FCPA compliance? Will you change how you are addressing these issues in 2014?