The Art of Compliance
Most major American corporations develop and implement an ethics and compliance (E&C) program. However, too often, the ethics division of these programs falls to the wayside, with companies putting more focus on legal compliance rather than creating an ethical corporate culture. While it is true that compliance can technically function without an ethics component, a robust ethics program can be an extremely efficient way for a company to promote legal compliance, as well as consumer trust and loyalty.
Earlier this year, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies writ large, occupied many financial headlines as onlookers began to divert their attention to the “unexplained” rise, and subsequent fall in the price of one the more popular (and maiden) cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin. Naturally, because many of the onlookers didn’t realize what Bitcoin was (or is), the media took lead on the story. Earlier this month, Bitcoin began to make its appearance in headlines, once again.
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have faced strict and substantial regulations regarding the provision of financial assistance to patients in the form of “charity care.” An essential element in a hospital’s ability to maintain tax-exempt status and financial solvency, charity care has worked to serve uninsured and indigent patients while helping charitable hospitals serve their mission and retain the benefits that come with it. The state of Pennsylvania recently passed legislation requiring more explicit and affirmative acts to provide charity care to more eligible patients. The change is unprecedented, and other states look to be slowly responding in their own ways. Compliance with these changes is most beneficial with proactive measures and risk assessments even before change comes through the doors.
Ted Banks is a partner at the firm Scharf Banks Marmor and is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he teaches a course on corporate compliance. At Scharf Banks Marmor, Mr. Banks concentrates his practice on compliance, antitrust, food law, and other corporate issues. He entered compliance by accident many years ago, and has been an innovator in the field ever since. Mr. Banks has been recognized as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” in the areas of corporate governance and compliance, and he has also been named a Risk & Compliance Trailblazer and Pioneer by the National Law Journal. Here, he has shared his story, tells us the real deal about compliance, and gives advice to students who wish to make compliance their career.
Ryan Meade Editor-in-Chief Director, Regulatory Compliance Studies at Loyola University Chicago School of Law The academic year for 2018-2019 has kicked off at the Center for Compliance Studies. It promises to be a big year with even more robust blog activity planned, a symposium in February 2019 that will be one of the first academic looks …
Modern business thinking has come to accept that reputation is as important as financials. As investors look for companies that demonstrate this understanding, compliance professionals are in a unique position to make their companies more appealing.
With the rise of the machine at our doorsteps, companies (those with foresight, anyhow) will be finding more innovative ways to gain the edge while using those machines. One of the ways companies will seek this edge is through the use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”). AI is one of the hottest, and arguably controversial, topics confronting mainstream business today. Many are skeptical of it, but also hopeful, despite the controversy surrounding the field. While both sides of the controversy have their reasons, some on each side are generally clueless as to how AI is manifesting itself today, and how it will in the future. How will it be applied? What is it useful for? What follows is a primer on current applications of AI and how they may be applied to the compliance world.
In the graphic novel and film “The Watchmen,” there is a reoccurring phrase: “Who watches the watchmen?” In context, it’s an indictment of the comic book world’s broken justice system. However, in a compliance context, the concept can be just as important. In a recent discussion with a hospital system’s compliance officer, he raised the point that a company’s compliance department is seen as the ultimate authority and expertise in laws and regulations, monitoring compliance and noncompliance, and implementing corrective and disciplinary actions. Yet while many compliance professionals may assume that their actions are always compliant, who oversees those who are overseeing systems and organizations? Who ensures that compliance is compliant?
Large companies generally have well established programs and systems in place to remain compliant with ever-changing regulations within their industry. But at a time when the percentage of job seekers starting their own businesses is at a recent high, young firms and start-ups are at a disadvantage when it comes to compliance, having to build a system from the ground up. In order to have an effective compliance program, an organization must “exercise due diligence to prevent and detect criminal conduct” and must establish and maintain an organizational culture that “encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with the law.” Thus, management not only has to focus on structure, but also culture in building their compliance systems.
David R. Jackson is a compliance manager, and has been for over twenty years. As a consequence, he knows better than anyone the delicate balancing act being a compliance professional requires.
Compliance leadership within a business requires maintaining five different conversations concurrently: (1) with the business, (2) with senior management, (3) with other teams that support the business, (4) with the government agencies and industry groups that provide external oversight, and (5) with the compliance staff. The challenge is not carrying out any one conversation, but juggling all conversations at the same time, and constantly shifting gears between conversations with different audiences.