Category Archives: Third parties


Doctors sometimes get paid for helping out medical device developers.  Wouldn’t this be good to disclose?  Congress thought so.

“MiMedx Didn’t Report Payments to Doctors,” The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2018 B5.  Company doesn’t report payments to doctors.  Says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says it doesn’t have to.

Maybe the Physician Payments Sunshine Act applies, maybe it doesn’t.  Nice to know there is such a statute.  But some payments were disclosed, as required by some medical associations.  And CMS says it doesn’t provide opinions on such matters.

Who are you going to believe?  Do you disclose what you are required to disclose?

Sunshine is a great disinfectant.


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Filed under Communications, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Third parties, To report


“Suit Against MetLife Spotlights Problems From Old Business,” The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2018 B12.  MetLife sued over its failure to pay proceeds of an annuity to the right person.

MetLife has a business that takes over the pension payment obligations owed by private plans.   “MetLife has said it failed to aggressively search for people as they neared pension-eligibility age.”  As a result, about 13,500 retirees weren’t getting their benefits, after MetLife had released some reserves (and thereby increased profits) related to the payment obligations.  That reserve release has now been reversed, hitting fourth quarter results.

How does your company keep from losing contact with people to whom it owes money?  Are they swept under the rug, and ignored unless they complain?

Is this information governance or ethics or something else?

See also Snoopy cried.

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight, Protect assets, Third parties

Information or governance

Not sure whether this is more about governance than about information.

“AT&T Thwarted In Focus On Trump,” The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2018 B1.  AT&T wants information on internal government discussions, in order to rebut the government’s attack on the proposed acquisition of/merger with Time Warner.  Court says no dice.

On the information point, how much is it worth to get information you don’t have, but suspect will help you?  How much is it worth to keep your internal government discussions private?

On the governance point, one governing authority (the Executive Branch) moves to block a transaction, alleging it’s anti-competitive.  The parties to the proposed transaction sue for access to the Executive Branch’s internal documents, to demonstrate alleged bias.  The Executive Branch says “no.”  Another governing authority (the Judicial Branch) also says “no.”

Whose information is it?  Who’s in charge (i.e., governing)?


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Filed under Access, Controls, Duty, Governance, Government, Information, Oversight, Third parties, Value

The cobbler’s children

The cobbler’s children have no shoes.  Experts tend not to tend to things at home.

“Errant Charges at Coinbase,” The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2018 B9.  A bitcoin firm ended up charging its customers multiple times (as many as 50!) for the same transactions. Blames its vendors.

Let me see.  You can’t work out your own electronic invoicing and you want to store our digital currency?  We should trust you why, exactly?

Wouldn’t you think you’d keep a close eye on the processes by which customers are charged and you are paid?

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Governance, Interconnections, Internal controls, IT, Oversight, Supervision, Third parties, Vendors

Information quality

The quality of information is largely based on its accuracy.  Excluding others from using that information can also be valuable, such as trade secrets, patents, or copyrights.  An additional factor is the information’s timeliness: getting information before someone else allows you to use that information first.  Even fractions of a second can matter.

“CME Defect Aids Speedy Traders,” The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2018, B1.  Five years ago, some high-frequency traders took advantage of the small time gap between (a) when they received confirmation of trades and (b) when those trades were reported to the market.  Based on this information, they deduced the direction of market movements and sold or bought, as appropriate, before that information was in the market.  The exchange fixed this.  Sort of, as the problem has reappeared, albeit much smaller.  But microseconds matter, when it’s the computers that are doing the trading.

What’s the point?  Well, what information would you pay more for to get it sooner?  Do you rely on getting information at the same time as (or before) your competitors, allowing you to use your superior skill, foresight, and industry to profit from it?

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Controls, Data quality, Information, Internal controls, Third parties, Value

Uber settles

“Uber Settles Trade-Secrets Case,” The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2018 B1.  Uber pays more than $240 million to settle case, and agrees not to use certain technology on self-driving cars, allegedly belonging to Waymo.  The agreement not to use was worth perhaps $250 million.

How does your company make sure it isn’t using a third party’s intellectual property without permission?  Is this an important part of your compliance program?  How does your company manage its acquisitions of new companies, some of whom (or their employees) may not have been as diligent in avoiding trade secret theft?

How can you prevent people from bringing information that you do not want into your company?  What are your processes?

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Ownership, Ownership, Policy, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Supervision, Third parties, Value, Vendors

Believable denials

“Equifax Denies Breach Of Passport Numbers,” The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2018 B10.  In the hack of its files, Equifax admits exposing information of perhaps 145 million people.  Social Security numbers, stuff like that.  And credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers.  Senator E. Warren says the hack also exposed passport numbers.  Equifax says it didn’t.

Who do you believe?  One of them is wrong.   Which is more likely, that Equifax is lying or that a sitting US Senator didn’t understand Equifax’s submission to Congress?  When information is contradictory, how do you minimize risk?


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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Government, Third parties