This week, in a five-part podcast series, I am exploring the role of corporate monitorships in compliance and some of the key issues which companies and compliance professionals may face in dealing with monitors. I am joined in this exploration by Vincent DiCianni, founder and President of AMI and Eric Feldman, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Corporate Ethics and Compliance Programs for Affiliated Monitors, Inc. (AMI), who is the sponsor for this series. Today, we consider what is a post-resolution monitorship.
Feldman explained that most generally, a “post resolution monitor ship is essentially a situation where a government agency and a private organization, it could be a corporation it could be a nonprofit organization, has a requirement of settling some kind of a dispute or a matter between those two entities the company; the regulator agrees they are going to use a monitor to ensure that any specific conditions of the agreement to settle the matter are met.” He went on to note it is usually an independent third-party who is brought in for this purpose.
Post-resolution monitorships are well-known to the compliance community through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcements. Yet Feldman stressed they are use in a much wider area of practice than simply FCPA. He said, “Other kinds of enforcement scenarios would involve state Attorneys Generals that perhaps are investigating and settling cases with companies involving consumer protection or even civil rights cases. State regulatory boards medical boards and other types of licensing institutions and various states they could sign agreements that require a monitor to monitor the conditions of those agreements.” Of course, there are situations where there is court ordered enforcement as a result of a court ordered settlement and “a monitor is required to report to the court and both parties’ compliance with that particular agreement.”
Yet monitorships have been employed in anti-trust scenarios to ensure compliance not with Consent Decrees but with Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission-approved merger conditions. Here Feldman pointed to the example of the merger conditions between DirecTV and AT&T. In that case, the monitor was charged with reviewing and assessing compliance with certain merger conditions. Feldman noted there was no enforcement action and no wrongdoing but a recognition by all parties involved for the need of a truly independent third party to assess compliance with the acquisition conditions.
One thing about the post-resolution monitorship is that if viewed as a tool for compliance, a wider variety of uses can be envisioned. In the FCPA world, we have seen shareholder actions brought against Boards of Directors and companies for failing in their duties to put compliance programs in place. Occasionally, these actions are resolved before the conclusion of a FCPA investigation or enforcement action. If you had a post-settlement monitorship for the shareholder action, both the findings of the monitor and the monitor’s report could potentially help the recalcitrant company under the new FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy. In such a scenario a post-resolution monitorship could have the impact of a pre-settlement monitorship.
Feldman concluded by noting, there are a number of applications and uses of an independent, credible third-party to facilitate the resolution of disputes. There are different ways having a third party come in and help to resolve issues; the number of ways is almost infinite or at the very least, limited to your imagination. Often a monitor could come in collect information on what one or both of the parties are doing to help facilitate a settlement. Feldman discussed matters such as consumer protection issues. He noted that AMI has done monitorships where state agencies have done investigations of consumer protection and AMI would come in as a “secret shopper” to determine whether an organization is in fact doing what it is supposed to be doing.
The bottom line is that there is certainly no finite number of categories for the post-resolution monitorship. They can be utilized in a wide variety of ways to help facilitate not only resolution of enforcement actions but to satisfy compliance with a wider variety of cares, concerns and issues.
For more information on how an independent monitor can help improve your company’s ethics and compliance program, visit our sponsor Affiliated Monitors at www.affiliatedmonitors.com.
The post-resolution monitorship can be used in a wide variety of settings to facilitate compliance.Click to tweet