Compliance Bits and Pieces for August 24

These are some compliance related stories that recently caught my attention.

The FCPA Compliance Strategic Plan – Some Lessons for the Astros by Tom Fox

I pondered over Stephen’s thought on the subject of a strategic plan recently when I heard the Houston Astros General Manager say that he was not sure what plan he has to make the Astros a winning if not relevant, team again. Basically he said it was a 1, 3 or 5 year plan, or perhaps something else, he just wasn’t sure. With those words of encouragement in mind it would appear that the Astros plan is the following: (1) Year One: Lose to a new set of teams as the Astros will move from the National League to the America League; (2) Year 3: Continue to lose; (3) Year 5: Be all you can be. How is that for a strategic plan?

Compliance and the Legal Department: A Counterpoint in 3 Geeks and a Law Blog by Susan Hackett

My point is that many law departments choose to in-source compliance rather than out-source it. In-house counsel are hired and paid to intimately learn and live with the client in order to help “keep the milk in the glass”; outside lawyers are often retained to help clean up what’s spilt. If you only see spilt milk, you don’t know much milk is kept in the glass, or how many glasses there are that never tipped over at all. When Toby suggests that GCs would be better served if they were asking for more money for compliance-related activities and that they don’t because they are risk averse, I’d respond quite simply that Toby may not be aware of the extreme focus and resource corporate clients do expend on compliance. What they spend on compliance is spent on in-house staff, and not usually spent on firms or e-discovery vendors. E-discovery systems are not preventive legal systems – they’re remedial, except for the small benefit that some regulate what can be posted or stored (it doesn’t stop the inappropriate activity behind the document or email).

The Key to Compliance: The Trenches by Michael Volkov in Corruption, Crime & Compliance

Ask anyone in the FCPA paparazzi and they will tell you exactly what you need to do to make sure you have an effective anti-corruption compliance program. There are as many answers as there are compliance professionals.

I can assure you that every compliance professional has forgotten the missing link – not Curly Q Link, but the essential aspect of every compliance program. The crux of it all – the raison de’ tere — all boils down to this – think of the interactions which occur between your company and foreign government officials, and try and calculate or imagine in your mind every one of those interactions. Each of them presents opportunities for improper payments, a motive and an opportunity to engage in bribery. The incentive is there, and your job is to stop it – you cannot police every interaction, every meeting, every dinner, and every opportunity for improper behavior.

Money Market Fund Reforms Hit Roadblock by Joe Mont in Compliance Week‘s The Filing Cabinet

Overruled by three of her commissioners, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro has been rebuffed in her two-and-half-year effort to reform money market funds.

In a statement issued at 9:20 p.m. on Wednesday night, Schapiro made public that the majority had squashed proposals she has championed to impose structural reforms on the $2.4 trillion domestic marketplace (only Commissioner Elisse Walter broke rank to offer support). These efforts, she said, were needed to “reduce the susceptibility to runs, protect retail investors and lessen the need for future taxpayer bailouts.”A pending vote on the matter has been cancelled.