Category Archives: Who is in charge?

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?

It depends on your point of view

“U.K. Plans to Introduce Digital Tax on Tech Firms,” The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2018 A9.  Rather than further regulating firms like Google and Facebook, the UK now tried to tax their locally generate revenue.

The lack of a universal taxing methodology may cause the big players some headaches.  Compare the patchwork of privacy obligations if you operate in different countries (or states).

Look at this from two different views.  First, how does a large multi-national comply with all the different laws around the world?  Second, how does your company deal with the overlapping laws and your own corporate policies and procedures, which may apply differently to different parts of your company?

While one-size-fits-all makes sense at one level (if you’re on top of the Governance pyramid), does this process require a bit more granular differentiation (if you are on the bottom)?

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Controls, Governance, Interconnections, Internal controls, Oversight, Third parties, 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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New broom sweeping

“Goldman Shakes Up Top Ranks In Asia,” The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2018 B3.  Following appointment of a new CEO for Goldman, two chiefs of investment banking being moved out of management roles following a corruption scandal of unreported dimensions in Asia.

It’s unclear from this article whether this is just a normal change (therefore just a Governance issue, with the new CEO exercising his authority in the early days) or is somehow connected to the corruption scandal (and therefore somehow a consequence of some Compliance failure).

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Filed under Controls, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Who is in charge?

Hackers look to make money

That’s a catchy headline.

“Facebook Thinks Hack Was Set by Spammers,” The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2018 B1. FB says recent breach of ~30 million accounts was by spammers wanting to make profits, and not by nation states with evil motives.  FB will likely never find who took the information.

This raises a whole host of issues about information ownership and the duty of companies who handle and store your data.   And IT security, or insecurity.  Which is your favorite?  I personally favor what this says about the culture at FB; with these issues, the FB communication to the market and its shareholders and its customers speaks volumes about how FB views the risks of its business.  So now a denial is Information, by definition.

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Filed under Access, Communications, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Definition, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Interconnections, Internal controls, Investor relations, IT, Oversight, Ownership, Privacy, Protect assets, Security, Technology, Third parties, Who is in charge?

Is this Governance?

“Google CEO Faces GOP Scrutiny,” The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2018 A6.  GOP lawmakers look to discuss Google’s work in (and with) China, market power, and political bias affecting search results.

Does Washington, much less the GOP, have the power to govern Google?  From whence does that power to govern come, and what does that power control?  What is Google alleged to have done wrong?

Watch this space.

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Self-policing?

“Report: Big Tech Needs Fixes,” The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2018 B4.  Report from Harvard  concludes that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple and similar tech giants “can’t be trusted to police themselves” and should be able to continue to swallow up smaller companies to get user data.

So, who governs the ungoverned?  Themselves?  Their shareholders?  These companies have and continue to acquire and control vast swaths of information belonging to others.

Do we care?

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