Department of Justice outlines three key pillars of a robust compliance program

Jonathan Brun

The U.S. Department of Justice Deputy AG Lisa Monaco recently delivered a speech on compliance enforcement where she linked compliance with national security. Though the speech focused on sanctions, bribery and other criminal activity overseas, I think we can draw some general conclusions on the benefits of a robust compliance program.

First, the U.S. authorities (and probably governments in general) are more lenient with well intentioned companies. If your compliance program and team is robust and working towards comprehensive compliance, you will get better treatment from regulators and inspectors. Lisa Monaco explained,

“… For those truly committed to promoting a corporate culture that values and invests in compliance — rather than begrudges or under-resources it — the department stands ready to work with you to do what we can to promote and reward such cultures.”

Sanctions and restrictions on trade may impact your supply chain. It is critical that you look carefully at your supply chain and the locations you work in to ensure there is no infringement of ever-changing regulations. Lisa Monaco explained,

“Every company needs to be pressure-testing its sanctions compliance program, … through risk assessments, technology upgrades and industry benchmarking. Every board of directors of such a company should be inquiring whether it is conducting necessary oversight of the company’s sanctions controls.”

If a non-compliance does occur at your operations or within your supply chain, voluntary self-disclosure is usually the best path forward. Not only will it help avoid penalties and fines, self-disclosure reinforces the first point that a robust compliance program will earn you brownie points with regulators. She explained,

“The math is simple: self-disclosure can save a company hundreds of millions of dollars… For any company that thinks it may have a sanctions problem, I have a clear, unequivocal message for you: pick up the phone and call us. Do not wait for us to call you.”

In summary, though the remarks by Lisa Monaco are aimed at international sanctions, the general principles of robust compliance programs, thorough analysis of your operations and self-disclosure are the pillars of any modern business. Nimonik helps companies implement a regulatory and standards monitoring program to move you and your organization in the right direction.