By Mark Dorosz
VP of Compliance Learning, Interactive Services
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued dozens of corporate enforcement actions in 2016 that resulted in almost 2.5 billion dollars in fines. 90 percent of the penalized organizations were global corporations. In 2017, both a medical device manufacturer and mining company have each been fined 30 million dollars for improper payments and anti-bribery violations. There are three essential prerequisites for anti-bribery and corruption compliance training programs.
Corporate compliance training programs will need active commitment from senior management that is best expressed through well-articulated policies against corruption. Executives generally set the tone from the top by balancing the need for aggressive sales, growth and revenue with information controls, operational transparency and management accountability. Company executives that just focus on profits will be naturally more vulnerable to corruption because they prioritize business needs and situational urgency over ethical decisions and legal compliance.
Executives generally provide autonomy and resources for middle management to translate ethical standards into proper practices and defendable decisions. Middle management is the bridge between executives and employees because they cultivate stakeholder trust, which is very different from shareholder trust. Preventative actions and risk management work well through continuous improvement programs that promote external reviews, periodic testing and risk assessments. Managers provide front line oversight to quickly identify red flags before they become SEC violations.
Internal Behavior Controls
Codes of conduct are often clearly defined in compliance policies, but they also need realistic standards, incentives for compliance and disciplinary measures for violations. Codes of conduct may need to be defined for both employees and third-parties. Policies should be enforceable and easy to understand. Compliance training programs may work best when they are customized to individual or company risk profiles. Guarantee confidential infraction reporting is critical, so it may be helpful to use an independent program or at least an internal HR or auditing unit.
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