As the compliance profession matures, young practitioners can bring enthusiasm, new ideas and fresh perspectives to the field.
The millennials’ altruistic inclinations have moved beyond domestic issues to include international problems. Corruption is one of them. It’s a root cause or contributing factor to many problems that plague developing countries — inequality, poor infrastructure, pollution, lack of public services, among others.
At the forefront of the fight against corruption are compliance officers, who help corporations and other stakeholders maintain high ethical standards. In this way, compliance officers work towards the long-term social good of developing countries. The effect is akin to development work, more typically associated with the World Bank or USAID.
It is somewhat counterintuitive to think of large multinational corporations as agents of progressive change. But the reality today is that, when it comes to corruption in developing countries, it is the multinationals that adhere to stricter ethical standards — more so than their local competitors. This is because many multinationals, under threat from the FCPA and other laws, have implemented strong compliance programs to prevent bribery.
If the culture of corruption that pervades many developing countries can be changed, it will be an important stride towards improving living conditions for millions of people. When that change comes, the compliance profession and the dedicated officers who comprise it will be among those deserving thanks.
Mark Friedman (pictured above) is a 2011 NYU Law graduate and a criminal defense attorney in New York City. He is seeking to transition into FCPA compliance. He can be contacted here.