Compliance standards in the United States come from the laws and policies enacted by the government and its related agencies. Administering U.S. standards on foreign institutions, public or private, poses a unique challenge. Our public and private companies are held accountable by federal, state, local, or agency rules, as well as the guidelines providedby the United States Sentencing Commission. But foreign organizations, in theory, have no real obligation to follow our lead. There have been several notable attempts in recent years to enact legislation on foreign organizations and impose sanctions for noncompliance, and it is likely a continuing trend as the compliance industry grows.
Following the 2016 Wells Fargo scandal in which the bank opened millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts to collect fees, federal regulators have worked to address and respond to the corporation’s illegal conduct. On February 2nd, 2018, the U.S. Federal Reserve imposed unprecedented restrictions against Wells Fargo & Co. when it capped the bank’s growth for 2018 such that it could not exceed the total assets owned at the end of 2017. This restriction marks a substantial departure from previous penalties issued for improper compliance. Changes in policies and procedures and this novel punishment reflect a notable shift in the national bank’s expectations of corporate directors.