By Jeffrey M. Kaplan and Rebecca Walker
Do you have a charter or similar document for your compliance program? Approximately 83% of the companies responding to date to the anti-corruption compliance program benchmarking survey we are conducting with the FCPA Blog do.
For those one in six companies who have yet to formalize their programs in this way, such a charter typically documents the:
Program roles played by various individuals – not only members of a compliance department but also those in the law, finance, audit, human resources, procurement and logistics functions, as well as operational managers, who provide key support for the company’s compliance efforts.
Different components of a program – e.g., how the company assesses risk, trains and audits on compliance issues; what its compliance procedures are; how it incents compliance; and so forth.
Application of the program to different “parts” of a company – geographic units, product or service lines or staff functions; to related entities (e.g., joint ventures); and to third-party business representatives.
Having such documentation, in turn, offers a host of practical benefits. Charters can be useful for ensuring that key players in a program know what their duties are; preventing turf battles; helping to show employees how serious the company is about compliance; and providing a basis for program audits and assessments, as well as board oversight. They can be useful, too, if a company ever needs to “prove” its program in a government investigation.
Our survey is also seeking to determine to what extent charters are specific to anti-corruption as opposed to covering all risk areas. Of the responses to date, the split between these two approaches is nearly 50/50. This is not a suprise, given that there are clear benefits to each approach – the specifics of which will be explored in the final report of the survey.
If you haven’t done so already, we hope you’ll take the Anti-Corruption Compliance Program Benchmarking Survey soon. Participating companies contribute information anonymously and will receive a complimentary copy of the final report, with findings and analyses on a wide range of important compliance practices.
For more information about the survey, and a link to take it, click here.
Jeffrey M. Kaplan and Rebecca Walker are partners at Kaplan & Walker LLP. They recently published a chapter in the BNA/ACC Compliance Manual on Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Jeff, who is also co-editor of Compliance Programs and the Corporate Sentencing Guidelines (Thomson Reuters), can be reached at [email protected]. Rebecca, who is also author of Conflicts of Interest in Business and the Professions: Law and Compliance (Thomson Reuters), can be reached at [email protected].