Category Archives: Policy

Better than nothing?

Have you ever misused your company credit card?  How about used a company asset for your personal business?

“Gulfport CEO Exits Following Review,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018 B2.  CEO resigns after investigation into his use of his company credit card (he had paid the charges back, eventually, without interest) and the company plane.

On departure, he gets $400,000 and 6 months of health care coverage.  I don’t know whether that’s better than nothing.

The ground troops learn from their “betters.”  Seeing the CEO get canned for policy violations firms up the perception of the seriousness with which the company treats violations of policy or procedure.  More so than a ground troop getting canned.

Does your company publicize these stories?

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Filed under Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Policy, Protect assets

Fraud at the top

“Former Goldman Bankers Charged,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2018 A1. “Two senior … bankers allegedly paid bribes and stole and laundered money … [in] one of the biggest financial frauds in history.”

What does it say when two of your 435 partners and one of your managing directors commits a fraud?  Failures in systems/controls?  Bad culture?  Do you have a “cowboy atmosphere” in Asia?  Poor training?  Are these rogue employees?  What’s the impact on your reputation?  What was the tone at the top?

This is primarily a Governance point.  How will the new CEO handle?

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Oversight, Policy, Supervision, Who is in charge?

I know it when I see it

“Irish Vote to Remove Law on Blasphemy,” The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2018 A10.  Although no one has been convicted of violating the law in 80 years, stage is set to repeal law making it a crime to say something offensive to religious sensibilities.

Looking at this from a Governance perspective, can you have an effective control that is not sufficiently clear as to when someone has violated it?  Do your policies and procedures set up controls that are sufficiently clear?  And if the voters can amend the constitution on a 65% vote, who is in charge?  As culture changes, do your controls keep pace?

And if you never enforce a control, does that mean it’s working?

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Filed under Compliance (General), Controls, Culture, Governance, Internal controls, Policy, Third parties, Who is in charge?

Weapons

“Apple CEO Urges Action on Data Misuse,” The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2018 B1.  Tim Cook wants GDPR-style privacy protections in the US.  Claims “[o]ur own information … is being weaponized against us with military efficiency.”

He went on to suggest that the data collection practices of some online advertising companies are the equivalent of government surveillance.

How do we wrest control of our information back again?  Or is privacy dead?  And do we believe that our federal legislature is competent to develop the necessary (and effective) legal controls and protections that true Governance requires?

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Analytics, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Government, Information, Oversight, Ownership, Ownership, Policy, Privacy, Technology, Third parties, Value

Leaker arrested

“Treasury Employee Is Accused of Leaks,” The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2018 A4. Employee arrested for allegedly disclosing confidential banking information about Paul Manafort, among others, to a reporter at BuzzFeed.

Leaking your employer’s information is hazardous to your health and freedom.  But it’s good to know the government takes compliance seriously.

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Oversight, Policy, Protect assets

Who exactly are your partners?

“U.S. Probes Microsoft on Bribery,” The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018 B1.  DOJ probes sales of software licenses to middlemen for ultimate sales to smaller governments.

Did the middlemen in, say, Hungary, share their discounted purchase price with government officials by way of bribes?  Even if they did, is Microsoft liable?  Unless the middlemen were Microsoft sales agents (who didn’t take title to the software licenses), or Microsoft knew of the scheme, hard to see FCPA liability for Microsoft.  Were the middlemen business partners of Microsoft, or just intermediate purchasers?

The ethics of the people with whom you do business can come back to bite you.  Your policies may apply by contract to consultants and third parties that you engage, but do they apply to the people to whom you sell/license your product?

 

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Oversight, Policy, Third parties, Vendors

Shoot for the stars

Nailing a high-visibility target demonstrates that you’re serious about compliance.  Especially if he or she is a big money maker.  And especially if it is over violations of your company’s procedures.

“GAM Says Fund Manager Breached Policies on Gifts,” The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2018 B10.  “[T]he star fund manager” also used his personal email to transact business for the company, and failed to follow other company procedures.

The company’s shares have dropped 44%.

Would you be surprised if your company did this?  What does that say about your culture?

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Policy