Compliance Bits and Pieces for August 10

These are some of the compliance-related stories that caught my attention.

Anti-Money Laundering For the Non-Banking Entity by Tom Fox

While many companies which operate under anti-bribery laws such as the UK Bribery Act or anti-corruption laws such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), have compliance programs in place to review business relationships, I have found that one of the areas which most non-banking companies do not sufficiently focus on is anti-money laundering (AML).

Fracking, conflicts of interest and adverse inferences by Jeff Kaplan in the Conflicts of Interest Blog

Take the example of “fracking,” an area of considerable complexity, and my own attempts – as a citizen who wants to be reasonably informed – to understand it.   Initially, I was skeptical about the wisdom of the fracking but the more I read the more it seemed, on balance, like a good idea (assuming strong environmental safety measures are put in place and that the embrace of fracking does not diminish the development and deployment of renewable energy sources).

Cheating in Online Courses by Dan Areily

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that students cheat more in online than in face-to-face classes. The article tells the story of Bob Smith (not his real name, obviously) who was a student in an online science course.  Bob logged in once a week for half an hour in order to take a quiz. He didn’t read a word of his textbook, didn’t participate in discussions, and still got an A. Bob pulled this off, he explained, with the help of a collaborative cheating effort. Interestingly, Bob is enrolled at a public university in the U.S., and claims to work diligently in all his other (classroom) courses. He doesn’t cheat in those courses, he explains, but with a busy work and school schedule, the easy A is too tempting to pass up.

When A Business Relationship Goes Bad by Kathleen Edmond in Best Buy Ethics

Companies like Best Buy often talk about key vendor relationships and business affiliations. The reality is, of course, that companies don’t have relationships – people do. Business relationships generally come down to a person at Company A working with a counterpart at Company B to achieve some set of shared goals. In order for that relationship to be healthy and profitable for both parties, there must always be an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect and independence.

 For this reason, Best Buy maintains a strict Gifts, Business Courtesies and Vendor Relationships policy that is designed to protect Best Buy and vendor alike from the sort of temptations that can arise when relationships go bad. The vast majority of the time these relationships are healthy, respectful and profitable for both parties. Every now and then, however, bad judgment leads someone to cross the line and abuse a relationship for personal gain.

One Response to Compliance Bits and Pieces for August 10

  1. Jacqueline Ross August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I found the article about cheating online quite interesting. Immediately, I thought of the ‘bottom line’ parallel in corporate America – many companies/shareholders/executives want to show profitable results and tend to overlook a lot of ‘grey area’ when it comes to exactly how those results are achieved. Many questionable methods are often sanctioned or not investigated too deeply as long as there are favorable results to show for it. Corporate structures are usually hierarchical with the same kind of ‘distance’ described in the article existing between the CEO and other workers.

    On the flip side, society as a whole may need to redefine what we think of as ‘cheating’ in this new Information Age. Innovation and using the tools available to help achieve desired results should be applauded, not condemned. With instant access to more information than ever before conceived, there really is no need to remember huge amounts of detailed data or facts. More important is the development of the higher order thinking skills needed to filter, organize and critically assess all the information that can and should be accessed. Courses today (online or otherwise) should not be designed on a content-basis but more on a critical analysis basis to reflect the world in which we now live.

    All that being said, it really comes down to personal honor and integrity. As a society we need to value the methods used just as highly or more than the results achieved. That message has to be reflected and practiced throughout. Otherwise, our children (who face ever-increasing competition and pressure to get those A’s in high school and college) are getting mixed signals from the world in which they are just trying to fit.