Category Archives: Compliance Verification

Swiss cheese, revisited

I am reminded of the Swiss cheese model for managing risk.  See https://infogovnuggets.com/2014/10/02/swiss-cheese/.

The awful shooting at the church outside San Antonio.  How many controls to manage the risk of a lunatic buying a gun failed?  Certainly, the Air Force failed by not recording the circumstances of his dishonorable discharge and related matters. (Was this systemic?  What about other branches?  Were there incentives/disincentives?)  And the fact that he had been in a mental institution wasn’t in the data base either. Who else failed?

And what about the self-certification, where a gun buyer needs to certify that he/she hasn’t done a bunch of bad things, which in turn is confirmed by the background check?  Do self-certifications work?  How much do you rely on having your employees sign an annual certification that they’ve read and understood (and don’t know of any violations of) your Code of Conduct?  Does that provide any protection?  Or does it just give you false comfort and a metric to measure?

 

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Filed under Compliance Verification, Risk

Trending

“Fidelity Is Hit by Employee Conduct Problems, The Wall Street Journal October 23, 2017 A1.  Several high-level employees canned following sexual harassment allegations.

Who knew Harvey W. would start a trend that reached beyond entertainment into high-finance?

Did these companies not have policies against sexual harassment and bullying?  Had compliance with the policies been audited?  What’s the compliance history?

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight

Mulligan

This is a straight compliance piece, where a corporation is held liable for the misdeeds of its employees (agents).

“Wells Fargo to Pay $3.4 Million Over Advisers’ Flub,” The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2017 B10.  Apparently, some of the bank’s financial advisers recommended volatility ETFs when they shouldn’t have.  The advisers also didn’t have adequate training.

This is straightforward.  Should some manager be fired or disciplined?  Maybe.  This would not seem the type of event that calls into question the Board’s duty to supervise, unless this is the third time this same compliance issue has arisen.  This is only the second time.  The bank paid nearly $3 million in fines and restitution in 2012 for a similar violation.

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight, Requirements

Kobe (2)

“Kobe Steel Discloses More Reporting,” The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2017 B3. Falsification of quality documents is much more prevalent than first reported at Kobe Steel.  Twice the number of customers now involved.  500.

Once you find a rotten apple, one can make certain assumptions about the rest of that barrel.  It’s a culture issue, at its core.

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Definition, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight, Policy, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Third parties

Equifax and SEC Hacks

A lot in the news of late about the hacks at Equifax and the SEC.

“SEC Discloses Edgar Corporate Filing System Was Hacked in 2016,” The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2017 A1.

“Equifax Hackers Spied for Months,” The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2017 A1.

“Equifax Board Weighs Clawbacks,” The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2017 B3.  How many years’ compensation will be affected?

“Equifax Lawyer in Hot Seat,” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2017 A1.  Chief legal officer probed for clearing stock sales after executives knew, but no one else did, about the hack.

“Equifax Ex-CEO Lays Out Lapses,” The Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2017 B1.  Staffers blamed for not reacting to public warning.

“Lawmakers Slam the Ex-CEO Of Equifax,” The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2017 B1.  He and others “weren’t aware of the significance of the company’s data breach ….” “[A]n employee failed to notify other staff to patch the software ….”  For want of a nail ….

“Senators Rap Credit-Reporting Model,” The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2017 B1.  “[W]hy consumers shouldn’t have power over the data [credit companies] collect on them”?

“Lawmaker Asks SEC To Delay Trade Log,” The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2017 B12.  Head of House Financial Services Committee pressures SEC to delay release of trading database following hack of SEC systems. Can you have too much information?

“Equifax Timeline Criticized,” The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2017 B10.  How long did Equifax sit on news of the hack before alerting the Board, the market and the Feds?  Is five weeks too long?  Executives selling stock in that window will be investigated.  Three weeks before he informed the Board.

“After Breach, SSN Reliance Is Criticized,” The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2017 A4.  One reaction to the Equifax hack is a move to find a replacement for Social Security Numbers.

“Index Firm Flagged Equifax for Security,” The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2017 B9.  Company warned about Equifax data security flaws in August 2016.

“Equifax Probes Possible New Breach,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2017 B1.  A code installed on Equifax’s website by a vendor “serve[s] ‘malicious content’ to consumers.”  Just when you thought ti was safe to go back in the water again.

“GOP Bill Would Boost Checks on Credit Firms,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2017 B10.  The horse having left the barn, the government wants to exercise more oversight.

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, IT, Oversight, Oversight, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Security, Value, Vendors

A top goal?

“CEOs Make Protecting Data a Top Goal,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2017 B4.  Unfortunately, the focus is on cyber-security rather than the broader information risk profile.  While this affect CEOs’ email habits, as they are phishing targets?

While this is a start, do CEOs really understand how much their company’s proprietary information is worth?  Or their duty to protect the company’s assets (people, physical equipment, cash, and information)?  Why not?

And where are the boards?  Don’t they have an overarching duty to oversee the major risks the company is facing and to make sure there’s an effective program in place to address?

I hear the violin.  Is Rome burning?

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Filed under Access, Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, IT, Managers, Oversight, Oversight, Ownership, Policy, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Security, Value

Disclosure

“A Hot Startup Misled Advertisers,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2017 A1.  Outcome Health apparently misled advertisers as to how many units their ads were appearing on.  The investigation continues.

How would your employees react if ask to provide inflated numbers to potential customers?  How would your investors react after a story appears on page one, above the fold?  Probably reflects in the valuation of the company.  And what about your company’s extensive political contacts?

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Communicate, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, Managers, Oversight, Oversight, Policy, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Use, Value