How much has FCPA enforcement and compliance changed over the last decade? Ask anyone who’s been around, and they’ll probably say “a lot” or “completely.” Perhaps the most telling metric quantifying this change is the average size of a corporate FCPA resolution.
Looking at the past five years of FCPA enforcement history, a stunning picture emerges.
Here are the average FCPA corporate settlements (with the DOJ or SEC or both) from the past five years, according to data provided by FCPA Blog+:
- 2016: $97,555,121
- 2017: $152,322,050
- 2018: $169,745,383
- 2019: $207,419,460
- 2020: $534,683,697
Companies are now paying an average of half a billion dollars to settle FCPA enforcement actions. That’s more than five times what it was just five years ago. It’s not quite exponential growth, but it’s not far off.
However, not every enforcement action involves mega-bucks. In 2020, Cardinal Health paid $8.8 million and Sargeant Marine paid $16 million to settle FCPA violations. But the big enforcement actions have gotten dramatically bigger.
It’s not just the penalties that have swelled, it’s also compliance staffing. Citibank now has 30,000 risk and compliance-related personnel.
Yet, the FCPA compliance industry remains largely unregulated. As our editor at large said, “We should probably be asking not if ‘compliance officer’ will become a regulated profession, but when.”
How much bigger can big FCPA enforcement actions get? Will the DOJ and SEC seek increasingly massive penalties from increasingly massive companies? Or have we reached the peak?
We’ll see whether FCPA settlement amounts will continue expanding, or if these astronomical figures will fall back to earth.
All case values are based strictly on penalties assessed and disgorgement ordered by the DOJ and SEC as reflected in charging and settlement documents. A detailed methodology of how we calculate FCPA settlement amounts is here.