We could define Compliance Programs as the measures taken by an organization in order to prevent, detect and correct its main corporate risks.
Many authorities worldwide regularly pinpoint key aspects aimed at providing guidance on how to put into place such programs in an effective way. For example, in 2019 and 2020 the US Department of Justice and the Security Exchange Commission described the specific factors for the evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs focusing on effectiveness. Also, the FCPA Resource Guide, originally issued in November 2012, was updated a few months ago allowing business and individuals to have insights into the hallmarks of effective Compliance Programs.
Colombian authorities, particularly the Superintendence of Financial Institutions and the Superintendence of Corporations, have issued local guidelines containing requirements and special actions to implement Compliance Programs for Anti-Money Laundry and Combating Finance of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”), as well as preventing Foreign Bribery.
Regardless of such multiple sources, companies face obstacles when implementing Compliance Programs due to diverse reasons. From our perspective, the root cause comes from a misunderstanding of the real meaning of Corporate Complianceand a lack of adding value in the business place.
When we talk about Corporate Compliance we not only refer to obeying laws, regulations, policies and standard procedures to avoid sanctions, mostly economic fines or criminal actions or prosecution, but as an opportunity to enable business ethics from an managerial perspective as decisions about what is acceptable or unacceptable in the organizational context of planning and implementing business activities in a global organizational performance, individual achievement in the workplace, social acceptance and approval of peers and coworkers in the organization as well as responding to the needs and concerns of relevant internal and external stakeholders (Linda Ferrell, 2011).
Unfortunately, compliance in several Colombian companies is seen as a stopper function, a way to complicate internal reviews and approvals or even a role making business more difficult and thus making profits tougher to obtain. Moreover, in certain cases, it is created with the sole purpose of meeting local requirements regarding AML/FT, far from the crucial vision of business integrity and ethics.
We could all be all-star scorers, and instead of being stoppers (please note that we are not suggesting being a “yes to all person” either), policemen/prosecutors, the one everybody avoids eye contact at the christmas party or even the last to be asked for input in business meetings, actually be the first in line. This can be accomplished when we give trust and creative solutions whenever thinking outside the box is needed.
Let’s take corporate risk management to the next level. Let’s change this negative mindset by starting to create a culture of integrity and ethics beyond the legal considerations. In sporting terms, let’s be the star corporate quarterback.
Pie de página:
 DOJ. “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs”. (April 2019 and June 2020).
https://bit.ly/3eUv8gE. The second edition of this guideline reflects new case law on the definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, the jurisdictional reach of the FCPA, and the FCPA’s foreign written laws affirmative defense.Available in Spanish only: https://bit.ly/2Uix4Gb and https://bit.ly/2H0geZG
Compliance Area Coordinator