Banks are taking a closer look at anti-money laundering programs after the financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department issued new guidance on anti-money laundering earlier this month. The move to meet government expectations for AML culture and compliance comes as pending regulations trigger a shift from a flexible, risk-based approach to customer due diligence to a more prescriptive one that comes with hard-and-fast rules and thresholds. More inside.
The drive to converge U.S. and international accounting standards is sputtering out, and accounting for leases may be the first place in the financial statements where different reporting starts to return. “We’re going to have a grand experiment to see which model wins market acceptance,” says John Hepp of Grant Thornton. “That may not be a bad thing.” More on the consequences of the standards split is inside.
Since 2000 the Justice Department and SEC have entered into 290 publicly disclosed DPAs or NPAs, according to a recent analysis from law firm Gibson Dunn. The start of 2014 alone saw monetary penalties of nearly $3.6 billion, arising from 12 settlements. Inside, we’ve parsed out common conclusions from all those DPAs and NPAs, to find the core principles regulators want to see in compliance programs today.
The recent experience of Demoulas Super Markets, owner of the Market Basket chain of grocery stores which operates 71 stores in New England, is a case of corporate governance gone haywire. When the board fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, who is generally adored at the company, employees and customers protested outside stores and several senior managers resigned. Market Basket offers several lessons in corporate governance, including anticipating the consequences of boardroom actions and communicating with stakeholders. More inside.
Suddenly, anti-money laundering compliance is the new black. Financial regulators want to create a “culture of compliance for AML” in the banking sector; anti-corruption groups are talking about AML as a vehicle to fight crimes such as human trafficking. Great idea, Compliance Week Editor Matt Kelly writes this week, but turning AML compliance into a versatile anti-corruption tool is not so simple. More inside.
The healthcare world is calling for a new government database tracking payments to doctors to be delayed, because of sloppy Website management and frustrated doctors not verifying the data companies have been filing. The site, required by the Sunshine Act, is supposed to launch next month. “We don’t want this release of the data to be so maligned in the public eye that physicians are hesitant to participate in research,” says John Murphy, a pharmaceutical industry spokesman.
As the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower enters its third year in operation, uncertainty about the ability to protect whistleblowers is rising. Some recent cases have revealed limits to the SEC’s ability to protect their identities, and a series of legal cases have called into question the circumstances where whistleblowers can claim protection from retaliation. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton explores these questions and their effect on the SEC’s whistleblower program.
When the Delaware Supreme Court upheld a ruling in July that Walmart must provide more documents about its investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to shareholders, FCPA experts argued about the lasting effects of the decision. Could it lead to new requirements for boards to carry out their duty to oversee a company’s legal compliance efforts? Inside, columnist Thomas Fox considers the fallout from the decision and what it means for compliance.