Most companies fully understand the need to comply with the FCPA requirements around third parties as they represent the greatest risks for an FCPA violation. However, most companies are not created out of new cloth but are ongoing enterprises with a fully up and running business in place. This means they may need to bring resources to bear to comply with the FCPA while continuing operating an ongoing business. This can be particularly true in the area of performing due diligence on third parties. Many companies understand the need for a robust due diligence program to investigation third parties, but have struggled with how to create an inventory to define the basis of third party risk and thereby perform the requisite due diligence required under the FCPA.
Getting your arms around due diligence can sometimes seem bewildering for the compliance practitioner. The information that you should have developed in Steps 1 & 2 of the third party management process should provide you with the initial information to determine the level of due diligence you should perform on third parties. This leads Step 3 in the five steps of the third-party management-Due Diligence.
Jay Martin, CCO at BakerHughes often emphasizes that a company needs to evaluate and address its risks regarding third parties. This means that an appropriate level of due diligence may vary depending on the risks arising from the relationship. So, for example, the appropriate level of due diligence required by a company when contracting for the performance of Information Technology services may be low, to reflect low risks of bribery on its behalf. Conversely, a business entering the international energy market and selecting an intermediary to assist in establishing a business in such markets will typically require a much higher level of due diligence to mitigate the risks of bribery on its behalf.
Our British compliance cousins of course are subject to the UK Bribery Act. In its Principle IV of an Adequate Procedures compliance program, the UK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) stated, “The commercial organisation applies due diligence procedures, taking a proportionate and risk based approach, in respect of persons who perform or will perform services for or on behalf of the organisation, in order to mitigate identified bribery risks.” The purpose of Principle IV is to encourage businesses to put in place due diligence procedures that adequately inform the application of proportionate measures designed to prevent persons associated with a company from bribing on their behalf. The MOJ recognized that due diligence procedures act both as a procedure for anti-bribery risk assessment and as a risk mitigation technique. The MOJ said that due diligence is so important that “the role of due diligence in bribery risk mitigation justifies its inclusion here as a Principle in its own right.”
Carol Switzer, writing in Compliance Week related that you should initially set up categories for your third parties of high, moderate and low risk. Based upon which risk category the third party falls into, you can design specific due diligence. She defined low risk screening as “trusted data source search and risk screening such as the aforementioned World Compliance”; moderate risk screening as “enhanced evaluation to include in-country public records…and research into corporate relationships”; high risk screening is basically a “deep dive assessment” where there is an audit/review of third party controls and financial records, in-country interviews and investigations “leveraging local data sources.”
A three-step approach was also discussed favorably in Opinion Release 10-02. In this Opinion Release, the DOJ discussed the due diligence that the requesting entity performed. “First, it [the requestor] conducted an initial screening of six potential grant recipients by obtaining publicly available information and information from third-party sources…Second, the Eurasian Subsidiary undertook further due diligence on the remaining three potential grant recipients. This due diligence was designed to learn about each organization’s ownership, management structure and operations; it involved requesting and reviewing key operating and assessment documents for each organization, as well as conducting interviews with representatives of each MFI to ask questions about each organization’s relationships with the government and to elicit information about potential corruption risk. As a third round of due diligence, the Eurasian Subsidiary undertook targeted due diligence on the remaining potential grant recipient, the Local MFI. This diligence was designed to identify any ties to specific government officials, determine whether the organization had faced any criminal prosecutions or investigations, and assess the organization’s reputation for integrity.”
Three Key Takeaways
- You must have enough information to fully identify the owners, ultimate beneficial owners and related parties to determine if there is foreign official involvement.
- All commentary on best practices compliance programs require an appropriate level of due diligence.
- The best practice is to use a professional due diligence provider to perform due diligence level 2 and 3.
You must determine the appropriate level of due diligence and then obtain it going forward.Click to tweet
This month’s podcast series is sponsored by Opus. Opus helps free your business from the complexity and uncertainty of managing the risks associated with your customers, vendors, and third parties. By combining the most innovative Third-Party Risk Management and Know Your Customer Compliance SaaS platforms with unparalleled data solutions, Opus turns information into action so your business can thrive. Opus solutions include Hiperos ABAC accelerator, the leading platform for third party risk management. To learn more, go towww.opus.com.