The Anti-Corruption Report

The definitive source of actionable intelligence covering anti-corruption laws around the globe

Articles By Topic

By Topic: Hotlines

  • From Vol. 7 No.9 (May 2, 2018)

    How and Why Leaders Should Create Transparent Cultures

    Transparency in an organization can be a critical “early-warning system” for compliance violations and unethical behavior before they metastasize into scandals or regulatory violations that can be costly, if not existentially threatening, to a business. A careful analysis of many, if not most, of the recent corporate scandals shows that, early on, employees voiced concerns about the behavior in question, but no one “listened” effectively to those concerns by taking action. In a guest article, Susan Divers, a senior advisor with LRN Corporation, discusses the most effective way for ethics and compliance leaders to weave a culture of transparency throughout an organization. See “In-House Compliance Experts Provide Practical Insights on Establishing and Maintaining Whistleblower Hotlines” (Aug. 16, 2017).

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  • From Vol. 6 No.21 (Nov. 1, 2017)

    LaTanya Langley of BIC Discusses Building a Global Anti-Corruption Hotline

    Providing an internal reporting mechanism is a crucial component of a robust compliance program. Designing and implementing one that employees actually use, however, is challenging, especially for companies with employees around the world who have different perceptions of “whistleblowing.” LaTanya Langley, vice president and general counsel for group stationery, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, and anti-corruption compliance officer at BIC, led the effort to build the BIC Speak Up program. She talked to The Ant-Corruption Report about how the hotline is designed, how it was rolled out and provided three takeaways from the process. See also “In-House Compliance Experts Provide Practical Insights on Establishing and Maintaining Whistleblower Hotlines” (Aug. 16, 2017).

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  • From Vol. 6 No.16 (Aug. 16, 2017)

    In-House Compliance Experts Provide Practical Insights on Establishing and Maintaining Whistleblower Hotlines

    Multinational companies face specific challenges when developing means for employees to report suspected misconduct – differing regulations and culture make a uniform method difficult. During SCCE’s recent European Compliance & Ethics Institute, a panel of in-house compliance experts discussed how their companies approach the establishment and maintenance of whistleblower hotlines around the globe. See our series on the nuts and bolts of anti-corruption hotlines: “Interview with Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling” (Sep. 24, 2014); “Interview with Brandon Daniels, President of Managed Services, Clutch Group” (Dec. 3, 2014); and “An Interview With Janice Innis-Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at TIAA-CREF” (Jan. 7, 2015).

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  • From Vol. 6 No.8 (Apr. 26, 2017)

    NAVEX Global Offers Benchmarking Data on Hotline and Internal Reporting Mechanisms

    Tracking hotline and other incident reports is an important way for organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their compliance efforts and monitor their risks. NAVEX Global recently released its 2017 “Ethics & Compliance Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report,” which parses nearly 1 million individual reports from its client database through a number of useful lenses, including the type of allegation reported, whether reports are anonymous and the rate at which reports are substantiated. We analyze the report with input from a webinar featuring Carrie Penman, Navex’s chief compliance officer and senior vice president, and Edwin O’Mara, its operations manager. For more insight from Navex, see “Ten Key Compliance Measures CCOs Should Implement in 2016” (Apr. 20, 2016); and “NAVEX Global Identifies Key Hurdles to Effective Compliance Training and Offers Tips to Overcome Them” (Sep. 9, 2015).

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  • From Vol. 5 No.16 (Aug. 10, 2016)

    Addressing Employees’ Perception That Internally Reporting Compliance Violations Is Futile 

    FCPA investigations triggered by whistleblower reports are increasingly likely as the SEC whistleblower program matures. According to the 2015 Annual Report on the Whistleblower Program, 80 percent of employee or former employee whistleblowers raised their concerns internally to their supervisors or compliance personnel (or otherwise understood that the company knew of the violations) before reporting their tips to the Commission. In a guest article, Cravath’s David Stuart and Harry Black discuss why employees often feel compelled to report violations outside of the company after they have reported internally and suggest how companies can incentivize prompt internal reporting and decrease external disclosures without running afoul of SEC rules prohibiting a company or individual from impeding reports to the SEC. See “Implications of the SEC’s First-Ever Whistleblower Protection Enforcement Action” (Apr. 15, 2015). 

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  • From Vol. 5 No.15 (Jul. 27, 2016)

    Could Johnson Controls Have Prevented the Flagrant Circumvention of Its Revamped Compliance Program?

    Johnson Controls (JCI) has agreed to pay $14 million to resolve SEC charges that employees of its subsidiary China Marine undermined the company’s revamped internal controls systems to make payments to sham vendors. Nicholas Berg, a partner at Ropes & Gray, said that “the Chinese subsidiary’s employees appear to have engaged in a carefully orchestrated effort to evade those controls in a way that was extremely difficult to detect.” Notably, China Marine was being supervised by a monitor in connection with a prior FCPA settlement both at the time it was acquired by JCI and when the illicit actions occurred. The DOJ announced its decision not to prosecute by publicly releasing a letter it sent to JCI, the third such letter since the implementation of the Pilot Program. The settlement highlights compliance issues, including the proper design of risk-based controls and internal reporting incentives. It also raises enforcement questions such as how long a company can wait to self-report under the Pilot Program and whether the DOJ had a case against JCI. See “Using the FCPA Pilot Program’s Remediation Requirements to Build a Best-in-Class Compliance Program” (May 18, 2016).

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  • From Vol. 5 No.5 (Mar. 9, 2016)

    Developing Key Performance Indicators and Tracking Metrics for an Anti-Corruption Program (Part Two of Two)

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and tracking metrics, regularly used to measure and evaluate the success of a variety of business actors and activities, are increasingly being used to take the temperature of a company’s compliance department as well. A company can use KPIs and metrics to help determine (1) whether its compliance program is being implemented in a robust and good faith manner and (2) whether the elements of the program, and the program itself, are effective in achieving their desired goals. In a two-part guest article series, Jonathan Drimmer, vice president and deputy general counsel at Barrick Gold Corp., and Matthew Herrington, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, provide a guide for developing and using KPIs and metrics in anti-corruption compliance programs. The first article outlined how to develop and use metrics and KPIs to assess robustness and effectiveness. This second article provides specific examples of KPIs and metrics that can be used to evaluate many of the hallmarks of an effective compliance program, as identified in the DOJ/SEC FCPA Resource Guide.

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  • From Vol. 4 No.18 (Sep. 9, 2015)

    Thinking Outside the Box: Examining the Growing Trend of Compliance Outsourcing (Part Two of Two)

    Chief compliance officers are regularly being pressured to do more with less.  Many are operating in businesses that are rapidly becoming more complex, both in terms of their global reach and in their use of sophisticated information technology, PwC partner Jerry Stone told The FCPA Report.  At the same time, a CCO faces increasing expectations from global regulators, the board of directors and the C-Suite, all while trying to keep compliance costs low.  To address this myriad of concerns, many companies are outsourcing some or all of their compliance functions to third-party vendors.  In this two-part article series, The FCPA Report examines the outsourcing trend and discusses the benefits and risks of outsourcing various compliance functions.  The first article discussed why a company might outsource some or all of its compliance functions and explored the associated benefits and risks.  This second article looks at how companies are outsourcing various compliance functions and details three steps a company should take before selecting a vendor.  See also “Five Tools Every Chief Compliance Officer Needs for Effective FCPA Compliance: Title, Authority, Access, Budget and Culture (Part One of Two),” The FCPA Report, Vol. 2, No. 7 (Apr. 3, 2013); Part Two of Two, Vol. 2, No. 8 (Apr. 17, 2013).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.8 (Apr. 15, 2015)

    Companies Seeing an Increase in Hotline Reports and Higher Numbers of Repeat Reporters

    An effective compliance hotline is one of the key tools a company can use to gather information about its compliance challenges.  Companies should regularly examine the full body of reports they receive and benchmark their data against other organizations.  Examining industry trends will help companies to evaluate the effectiveness of their own ethics and compliance systems, to allocate resources where they are needed, and to educate boards on those matters.  Advisory firm Navex Global recently released its 2015 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report, which draws insights from hotline and other internal reporting data provided by 2,100 Navex Global clients.  This article details the key takeaways from that report and a related conference call hosted by the report’s authors.  See also “How Does Your Company’s Anti-Corruption Hotline Compare?,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 21 (Oct. 22, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 4 No.1 (Jan. 7, 2015)

    The Nuts and Bolts of Anti-Corruption Hotlines: An Interview with Janice Innis-Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at TIAA-CREF

    Developing and maintaining an effective anti-corruption hotline can make the difference between a contained internal issue and an extensive government investigation.  While hotline mechanics are important, to truly realize the compliance value of a hotline, a company must ensure that it is creating a culture that encourages internal reporting and that it provides the means for employees to do so easily.  As part of our interview series on hotlines, we spoke with Janice Innis-Thompson, Senior Managing Director, Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer at TIAA-CREF (TIAA) about how her company approaches this critical aspect of its compliance program.  Innis-Thompson discussed, among other things, how TIAA publicizes its hotline, the protocols it uses and how it incentivizes internal reporting.  See the other installments in our anti-corruption hotlines series: “Interview with Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 19 (Sep. 24, 2014); “Interview with Brandon Daniels, President of Managed Services, Clutch Group,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 24 (Dec. 3, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 3 No.24 (Dec. 3, 2014)

    The Nuts and Bolts of Anti-Corruption Hotlines: An Interview with Brandon Daniels, President of Managed Services, Clutch Group

    An effective hotline program is integral when it comes to a company’s ability to proactively handle compliance issues before they become endemic.  And hotlines can encourage internal reporting, affording a company time to investigate conduct before the government does.  As part of our interview series on hotlines, we talked to Brandon Daniels, president of Managed Services at Clutch Group, a litigation and compliance service provider.  He leads the organization’s strategy for all commercial and operational aspects of the company’s Litigation & Investigation, Compliance & Risk, and Corporate In-house Services.  Daniels discussed, among other things, methods of reporting, when to outsource the hotline, data privacy issues and handling cultural sensitivities.  See “The Nuts and Bolts of Anti-Corruption Hotlines: An Interview with Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 19 (Sep. 24, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 3 No.21 (Oct. 22, 2014)

    How Does Your Company’s Anti-Corruption Hotline Compare?

    An effective hotline is a potent way to gather information about wrongdoing and is one of the foundational elements of a compliance program.  As technology advances and the enforcement landscape evolves, companies must continually assess and improve their hotlines.  The Network, Inc. has prepared a report that analyzes the best practices across major industries and examines developing trends.  The 2014 Corporate Governance and Compliance Hotline Benchmarking Report compiled 646,837 hotline reports from 2009-2013, taken from over 1,000 organizations with a combined total of 14.6 million employees.  See also “The Nuts and Bolts of Anti-Corruption Hotlines: An Interview with Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 3, No. 19 (Sep. 24, 2014).

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  • From Vol. 3 No.19 (Sep. 24, 2014)

    The Nuts and Bolts of Anti-Corruption Hotlines: An Interview with Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling

    A confidential reporting hotline is part of the “bedrock” of an effective compliance program, Benjamin Haley of Covington & Burling told The FCPA Report.  An effective hotline program can give a company the opportunity to proactively handle issues before they become endemic and can play a role in maintaining a culture of compliance.  And, hotlines can encourage internal reporting, allowing the company to investigate conduct before the government does.  In our interview, Haley outlines best practices for operating a compliance hotline and discusses common pitfalls.  See also “How to Maintain an Anti-Corruption Reporting Hotline That Complies with Data Privacy Laws,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 2, No. 7 (Apr. 3, 2013).

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  • From Vol. 2 No.13 (Jun. 26, 2013)

    Top FCPA Practitioners Share Strategies for Detecting, Preventing and Responding to Whistleblower Allegations

    Organizations operating internationally are exposed to seemingly endless sources of complainants – employees, former employees, third-party sales agents, suppliers, distributors and even competitors could potentially become whistleblowers.  How, in such an environment, does a company decrease the likelihood that it will be the subject of a whistleblower complaint?  Corporate whistleblowers remain one of the top concerns of companies subject to the FCPA.  That concern is fueled by the recent implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act’s reward program, which awarded its second money prize on June 12, 2013 to whistleblowers who provided information about a “sham” hedge fund and its chief executive.  Experts predict that more awards are soon to follow.  During two recent panels – one held at the American Bar Association’s Fifth Annual National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-house Counsel, and the other at the Practising Law Institute’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Law Developments 2013 program – FCPA practitioners discussed strategies for identifying, preventing and addressing whistleblower allegations.  See also “Specific Strategies from Pfizer, Barrick Gold and Other Leading Companies for Handling Actual and Potential FCPA Whistleblowers,” The FCPA Report, Vol. 1, No. 11 (Nov. 7, 2012).

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  • From Vol. 2 No.7 (Apr. 3, 2013)

    How to Maintain an Anti-Corruption Reporting Hotline That Complies with Data Privacy Laws

    The November 2012 FCPA Resource Guide emphasized that a confidential reporting hotline is one of the hallmarks of an effective FCPA compliance program.  However, operating such a hotline requires a company to collect personal data about employees.  Accordingly, maintaining a reporting hotline may conflict with applicable data privacy laws, particularly in non-U.S. jurisdictions.  How can companies both abide by data privacy laws and maintain a reporting hotline, consistent with best compliance practices?  This article addresses this question and, in doing so, offers guidance on setting up a hotline; processing and investigating complaints; and post-investigation procedures.

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  • From Vol. 1 No.9 (Oct. 3, 2012)

    Anonymous Polling, Focus Groups and “Organizational Justice” Help Companies Avoid FCPA Violations While Growing Revenue

    The notion that anti-bribery compliance and revenue generation are at odds has a superficial appeal and a long tradition.  But the notion does not hold up under theoretical scrutiny, and it has been discredited empirically.  As a theoretical matter, it makes good sense that a culture of ethics and excellence leads to high long-term returns, while a culture of bribery leads to misallocation of resources, among other problems.  And as an empirical matter, deep research by CEB (formerly the Corporate Executive Board), along with CEB’s extensive advisory experience, highlight a strong correlation between long-term revenue growth and a corporate culture of integrity.  “Integrity capital,” as CEB calls it, is not just the right thing to do or, less charitably, applied sanctimoniousness.  Rather, it is good business and effective strategy.  Working from an interview with Tracy Davis Bradley, a senior director at CEB; a recent article by Dan Currell, an executive director at CEB, and Bradley in the Harvard Business Review; as well as research provided to The FCPA Report by CEB, this article sheds light on some of the footpaths connecting ethics and revenue.  In particular, this article outlines specific steps that companies can take to avoid FCPA violations while simultaneously driving business growth; why the shaky economy may be driving bribery in developing countries; how integrity capital can help businesses’ bottom lines; how companies can make their hotlines more effective; how anonymous polling and focus groups, if done well, can yield surprisingly good results; and why companies should not only consistently and quickly punish offenders, but give recognition to employees who report wrongdoing.

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