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Anti-Corruption Compliance Program Charters

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].

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