Walt Brown Discusses Regulatory and Government Enforcement Trends in 2017
Our primary consideration when approaching compliance assignments is practicality – a program won’t work if it is not grounded in the systems, culture, economics and business needs of our clients. We help our clients prevent, detect and correct potential wrongdoing by developing compliance programs that are tailored to their specific situations. Our approach is designed to build on a client’s existing needs so that internal resources can be allocated efficiently and initiatives can evolve over time. We also regularly test and assess our clients’ compliance programs to ensure that they are as robust in practice as they are on paper. Our goal is to empower our clients with the necessary tools to conduct business as usual while providing strategic guidance and advice to mitigate major threats.
We are uniquely situated to help our clients manage risks.
Our team is led by two partners with exceedingly rare compliance expertise. The first previously served as the Co-General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Weatherford International, a large oilfield services company with operations in more than 100 countries. In that role, he was responsible for building the company’s Ethics and Compliance program, including its Trade Compliance program. Before his role as Chief Compliance Officer, he served as the Assistant Chief for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Enforcement at the Department of Justice (DOJ). The second lead partner has the rare distinction of serving twice as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved Independent Compliance Monitor for entities subject to deferred prosecution agreements. The first appointment related to a medical device company and the second a global banking technology entity. An Independent Compliance Monitor is required to independently assess the design, implementation and functioning of the entity’s compliance program and report these findings to both the SEC and the DOJ. These engagements give her unique insights and firsthand knowledge of what the SEC and the DOJ look for in an effective compliance program.
In addition to our co-leads, our team has extensive experience in developing and enhancing compliance programs, conducting risk assessments, and working with both internal and external finance teams to develop effective financial controls related to anti-corruption, ethical trade and money laundering risks.
We understand the regulators because we have been them.
It is essential that advisors understand how the U.S. government and other regulators view and assess compliance programs and challenges. We do. Three members of our team are former prosecutors from the DOJ’s Fraud Section, the unit charged with enforcing the FCPA; one is a former Assistant Chief for FCPA Enforcement. The team also includes a former Deputy Chief for the DOJ’s Money Laundering & Bank Integrity Unit, a former key advisor on the DOJ’s anti-money laundering policy, and former U.S. Attorneys for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California.
The possibility of engaging in corrupt transactions – knowingly or unknowingly – continues to pose major risks for companies in terms of law enforcement, reputation and damage to share price. Enforcement of the FCPA remains robust, and other countries are increasingly cracking down on both domestic and international corruption. Our White Collar Compliance team regularly assists clients with anti-corruption compliance programs:
Financial institutions, both banks and nonbanks (such as casinos, broker-dealers and money services businesses, including fintech companies), are required by the Bank Secrecy Act to have effective anti-money laundering (AML) programs. And while nonfinancial services businesses are typically not required to have an AML program, they may still be exposed to significant money laundering risks. Our compliance team regularly assists clients with assessing their money laundering risk and developing appropriate compliance programs to suit their individual needs. This includes:
In today’s global economy, multinational companies face a complex and ever-evolving legal environment. Compliance functions must continually adapt to address these challenges and be in front of the next wave of enforcement actions around the globe. While there is not yet a global standard, the development of laws in a few jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States, suggest that corporations are increasingly being expected to identify, mitigate and even disclose supply chain risks, with specific focus on human trafficking, child labor and slavery. The increased reputational risks, even in the absence of specific legislation, suggests that multinational companies should be considering compliance enhancements around their supply chain integrity. Our compliance team regularly assists clients with assessing these risks and helping companies get in front of what may well be the next wave of compliance enforcement. This includes: