FIRMA FORUM Magazine
This the feature article from our issue #1, 2013 FIRMA FORUM Newsletter. Members can view the entire issue, and past issues, in our archive
Global Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance
By Sven Stumbauer
Financial institutions operate in an environment of ever-increasing laws and regulations, including Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the U.K. Bribery Act (UKBA). Failure to adhere to these laws and regulations may subject them and their employees, officers, and directors to substantial fines, penalties and other serious consequences, including imprisonment. Managing the risk of bribery and corruption has become a common topic of discussion at board of directors’ meetings, particularly given the heightened level of scrutiny and enforcement activity by regulators, such as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office and the U.K. Ministry of Justice.
On November 14, 2012, the SEC and DOJ released their much-anticipated FCPA Resource Guide (FCPA
Guide). The FCPA Guide provides important guidance to companies regarding the SEC’s and DOJ's perspective on compliance with the FCPA, their enforcement actions in the area, and their expectations for
companies to maintain effective compliance programs. The FCPA Guide makes clear that a compliance
program should constantly evolve to adapt to changing business, environments, laws and industry standards.
Further, the FCPA Guide stresses that the SEC and DOJ will consider a company’s efforts to regularly
review and improve their compliance programs, and give meaningful credit to thoughtful efforts to create a
sustainable compliance program if a problem is later discovered.
ABC compliance is becoming a high priority requirement for financial institutions. A combination of
increased enforcement activity globally and recognition by management and boards of directors of potential
exposure have resulted in a trend in which financial institutions are increasingly seeking to implement or
enhance their ABC compliance programs.