Today, we consider The Winter’s Tale. In this play, King Leontes of Sicily and King Polixenes of Bohemia are old friends and Polixenes is about to return home after a six month visit to Sicily. Leontes wants him to remain longer and asks his wife to persuade him to stay. At this point the green-eyed monster of jealously takes hold of Leontes and he becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife has been unfaithful to him with Polixenes. He tries to have her killed but she escapes and so he puts her in prison where she gives birth. The baby daughter is taken away to the Kingdom of Bohemia and as you might guess she ends up falling in love with the son of King Polixenes. They return years later to Sicily and father and daughter are united and reconciled. The daughter also marries the son of King Polixenes, hence the confusion which makes this a Problem Play.

I thought of the difficulties of King Leontes when it comes to terminating a third party. At some point, you will be required to terminate a third-party and there will be multiple legal, compliance and business issues to navigate going forward. If you are stuck doing it in the middle of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation, there may well be some tension to do so and do so quickly. If you have not thought through this issue and created a process to follow before it all hits the fan, you may well be in for a very tough road.

The key theme in termination is planning. The Office of Comptroller of the Currency, OCC Bulletin 2013-29, said that regarding third-party termination, a bank should develop a “contingency plan to ensure that the bank can transition the activities to another third party, bring the activities in-house, or discontinue the activities when a contract expires, the terms of the contract have been satisfied, in response to contract default, or in response to changes to the bank’s or third party’s business strategy.”

In an article entitled “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”, Carol Switzer related how to avoid pain by planning for the end of a third-party relationship. She said it all should begin with “an exit strategy, a transition plan or a pre-nup—whatever the title, it’s best to begin by planning for the end which, in the case of business at least, will always eventually come.

Although rarely considered, the termination of a third-party relationship can be as important a step as any other in the management of the third-party lifecycle. While having the contractual right to terminate is a good starting point, it is only the starting point. You not only need to have a compliance and legal plan in place but a business plan as well. If you do not, the cost in both monetary and potential business reputation can be quite high.

Tomorrow, we conclude with Timon of Athens.