Best Practices for Reviewing Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs: Government Expectations, Scheduling and Staffing (Part One of Three)

The recent joint DOJ/SEC Guidance reflects the government’s view that, in order to be effective, an FCPA compliance program must be periodically reviewed and improved.  However, neither the Guidance nor any other authority specifies how frequently such reviews should be conducted, how expansive such reviews should be or what steps companies should take to improve discovered shortcomings.  In the absence of concrete and authoritative direction on this topic, how should companies approach the ambiguous but critical task of reviewing and improving their compliance programs?  This article is the first in a three-part series addressing this question.  Specifically, this article discusses the importance of regular anti-corruption compliance reviews; details the government’s expectations about reviews; outlines how to create an efficient and effective compliance review schedule; and specifies how companies should staff their compliance reviews.  The second installment will discuss the biggest challenges companies face when conducting a review; what a company should consider when preparing for a review; how a company should prepare to perform a review; and what areas the review should address.  The third and final article in the series will provide strategies for conducting the actual review; discuss what a company should do post-review; outline issues surrounding documentation of the review; and examine how FCPA settlement agreements affect reviews.  See also “Insight from Top Companies and Practitioners on How They Are Addressing Current Anti-Corruption Issues, from Self-Reporting to Risk Assessments to Training” (May 15, 2013).

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