This week, in a five-part podcast series, I have been 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 have been 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, for our final episode in this series, we consider the always controversial topic of monitorship costs and expenses.
DiCianni noted that in any post-resolution monitorship, the monitor is coming in at the end of a long process. If it was a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action, it could have been a years-long process with a lengthy investigation, coupled with an extensive remediation and then long negotiation with the government over the final penalty. Yet there is an approach that a company can use to help the final leg of this process more palpable.
DiCianni breaks the process down into three key areas. The first is the scope of the monitorship. You must understand the settlement documents so that you can fully appreciate the scope of the monitor’s remit and what the government expects from the monitor. DiCianni noted that some resolutions can have a narrow focus, with a finite number of records or other documents to review. With such information, you can work to scope out a range of what your costs might be. Conversely the settlement documents can literally be wide-open, which obviously will have a dramatic impact on potential costs and even estimating.
DiCianni related the next factor to consider is frequency. By this he meant how often is the monitor actually engaging in monitorship activities for the company. Is it daily? Is it weekly? Is it quarterly? The frequency of monitoring will have a significant role on your overall monitorship costs. The final factor to consider is duration. Tied to this question of frequency is the length of the monitorship. How long will the monitorship last, one-year, two-years, three-years or even five years; is a critical element.
The final factor is the experience of the monitor. As we explored in Episode 4 of this series, you really need to have a very direct conversation with monitor candidates to determine if they have the experience to work with other individuals or teams of individuals. Does the monitor understand their role, as prescribed by the four corners of the settlement document(s). Are they going to reinvent the wheel for each new part of the monitorship? DiCianni said, “as they are going along which is going to add to the cost of the monetization so that’s a factor that I think companies should consider”. This brings up another important factor on costs is the not only the scope of the monitorship but also the efficiency of the monitor.
DiCianni noted a key document for cost control can be the monitor’s workplan, which lays out the monitor’s anticipated services. This gives the monitor, the company and the government a set of expectations for the tasks to be accomplished. Even though it may turn out to be a preliminary document, it does help to provide a level of certainty. Equally important is for the monitor to understand they do not have to look at everything during the monitorship. You can randomly sample and drill down to test if you need to do so. A monitor does not have to interview all persons in a high-risk location but can select certain employees for a focus group and then perform a round of interviews if required. The workplan and its execution can be a powerful tool to help not only estimate the total cost but also keep them down.
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.