The Fraud Examiner

The Value of Using Independent Compliance Monitors in Proactive Ethics and Compliance Assessments

Eric R. Feldman, CFE    
ACFE Regent
Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Corporate Ethics & Compliance Programs
Affiliated Monitors                                 

On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) quietly slipped out its 2020 revision of the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance Document (Evaluation Guidance). As with its predecessors in 2017 and 2019, this update further refines the DOJ’s guidance to companies about how often they should review the structure of their ethics and compliance programs, the importance of a compliance officer’s access to data, and greater clarity on how companies should integrate mergers and acquisitions into their existing programs and corporate culture.

This third installment of the Evaluation Guidance underscores how and why law enforcement pays such close attention to a company’s ethics, compliance and anti-fraud activities. Since early 2017, the DOJ has clarified its previously nebulous position on the value of proactive compliance efforts by introducing a series of memos and additions to the Justice Manual aimed to answer the following questions:

  • What do government regulators expect a company’s ethics and compliance programs to look like?
  • What steps can companies take before an ethical failure, or between the time of an offense and resolution, to structure (or remediate) ethics, compliance and anti-fraud activities in a manner that will help mitigate the consequences of enforcement actions?
  • How can a company determine if its ethics and compliance activities are having the intended impact?

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