In this podcast series, I visit with Vin DiCianni, founder and President of Affiliated Monitors, Inc. (AMI) and Eric Feldman, Senior Vice President of AMI. We consider the global view of ethics, compliance and corporate culture of non-US companies, outside the US; in both their home countries and in other countries where. AMI does independent integrity monitoring in multiple countries outside the US and for many non-US organizations. This work has given them a unique vantage point to observe developments. In this Part IV, I discuss the changing face of monitors in the international arena with DiCianni.
Monitoring in the international arena is not as prevalent as it is in the domestic US context. This ties somewhat to the maturity of international anti-corruption enforcement. This is something we have certainly seen an increase in over the past couple of years beginning under the Obama Administration and continuing under the Trump Administration. This will most probably portend to an increase in monitors and monitoring outside the US. Certainly, such a concept is not foreign to countries outside the US, as there was a monitor involved with Siemens AG around its 2008 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) resolution.
DiCianni admitted that he has been described as a missionary around independent integrity monitoring. (As the Compliance Evangelist, I get that.) However, DiCianni evangelizes “about independent monitoring and how it could be an effective resource for government agencies just as it has been in the US.” He did admit that while foreign jurisdictions are understanding the benefits of an independent integrity monitor from a conceptual basis, “it is a mindset and it’s a change that I don’t know that they’re quite ready for yet.” Interestingly, one reason is the difference in judicial approach, particularly from countries which are code based as opposed to common law based. In the code-based countries there is a mindset to hold a company criminally liable and not to work a settlement resolution to remedy the underlying factors which led to the legal violation.
One of the reasons I find independent integrity monitoring so powerful is that it brings a sense of both institutional justice and fairness into the workplace and with the now increased scrutiny around corporate culture and whether a company is basically fair to its employees. I asked DiCianni if that that is a message that resonates outside of the United States in Europe? He believes it is “getting there”.
One impediment can be that sometimes the problem is both “deeper and it is cultural.” As an independent integrity monitor, you are “coming in and helping sort of assess the culture and strengthen the culture, assess the strength of a compliance and ethics program and controls”. But the role can also be as a mentor, and DiCianni is seeing “a real interest, to move in that direction. At the end of the day we are looking at whether or not the program is strong and whether or not the culture was strong. I think that some government agencies outside the US, think is their role and they are not ready and willing to outsource that role.”
One of the things that I am always sensitive to outside the US is the ugly American syndrome and/or does it simply look like American imperialism to say only Americans can be independent integrity monitors. DiCianni replied that while one should always be sensitive to that issue, many compliance practitioners rightly look to the US for leadership in this profession. Through both the enforcement regimes of the Department of Justice (DOJ) around the FCPA and the maturity of the compliance profession in the US, American leadership is well-known and appreciated in this area. Another key component is to use established professionals from the country to help any US based independent integrity monitor.
Tomorrow we conclude with international challenges for monitors.
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.