Services Offered in the Area of Anti-Corruption Compliance
Laurent Cohen-Tanugi Avocats serves its clients in the anti-corruption compliance area by providing the following services:
- Fulfillment of independent FCPA / World Bank corporate monitorship mandates;
- Strategic assessment of corporate compliance functions;
- Support in the design and implementation of robust compliance programs;
- Pre- and post-acquisition anti-corruption due diligence;
- Ongoing advice on compliance matters and crisis management;
- Internal investigations.
Our general approach and our team
We believe that a robust and sustainable anti-corruption compliance program must take a holistic approach to the threat of compliance violations under the supervision of the Board of Directors and other key corporate managers. It must, at a minimum, involve the following principal components:
- Reinforcement of the company’s internal ethics and values (Code of Conduct, tone at the top, etc.)
- Prevention and control (training, due diligence, contractual clauses, analysis and management of risks, internal controls, IT, etc.)
- Detection and investigation (red flags, internal audits, reporting lines, internal investigations, etc.)
- Discipline of individuals or systematic violations and remediation (positive incentive programs, remediation plans, disciplinary regimes, reinforcement of corporate values through internal communication, etc.)
Furthermore, compliance standards are constantly evolving, and companies must continue to innovate, by improving as appropriate, their policies, procedures, supporting IT tools, training programs, controls, as well as remediation measures to address any identified issues.
Our method combines benchmarking against best practices and taking a tailored approach to assessing the particular needs, risks and realities of our clients. A successful compliance program is not simply a set of written policies and procedures, but rather a way of ethically and legally doing business that is embedded in all levels of the company and implemented in a rigorous and consistent manner.
Our core team is comprised of French-American corporate and international transactional lawyers, with relevant compliance and regulatory training and experience. When and if desirable for a mandate, we involve experts with specialized knowledge and experience, such as auditors and IT specialists. We are sensitive to business and cultural nuances and are keenly aware of the stakes involved for companies operating in an evolving global framework and subject to foreign legislation such as the FCPA or the UK Bribery Act.
Example of services offered as part of a strategic assessment of corporate compliance functions
We tailor each of our assignments to the specific needs of our clients.
An example of the services we offer is a strategic, high-level assessment of a company’s compliance systems, which may comprise of the following steps.
- Thoroughly understanding our client’s business
Due to the uniqueness of each company, there is no one-size-fits-all compliance program. The first step in our assessment of where a client stands on compliance is therefore efficiently learning about the company from a business standpoint. Through focused presentations from the company, document review, and tailored interviews with selected business executives, we learn about our client’s business model, current operations worldwide, vision for expanding, governance structure and any particular areas of operation the company perceives as risky.
- Analysis of our client’s compliance-related functions
Due to the transversal nature of the compliance function which extends beyond the legal and compliance departments, we review the compliance-related functions – such as risk assessment, audit, legal, compliance, investigations, finance and human resources – within the company, including governance structures, reporting lines, roles and responsibilities, resources, training programs and related matters. Through presentations from and interviews with relevant personnel at the company, we gain an understanding of its approach to anti-corruption compliance and the respective roles of the relevant gatekeeper organizations.
- Review of corporate policies and processes
We review and conduct a preliminary assessment of the adequacy of the corporate compliance policies currently in effect within the company. We review our client’s compliance policies and benchmark them against best practices.
4. Country visits
As part of our high-level review, we generally recommend at least one on-site visit to a company’s operations abroad to understand how the internal policies and procedures are implemented in practice. The country review may consist of presentations, interviews, document review and system walkthroughs, with a goal of making a preliminary assessment as to how the corporate compliance policies and systems in place at the company are rolled-out and implemented on the ground.
5. Identification of focus areas
Once we have gathered a thorough understanding of a company’s business activities and compliance risk profile, we may select, together with the company, a number of focus areas for deeper inquiry. Such focus areas may include relations with third parties (such as agents, consultants, JV partners and logistics services providers), M&A compliance due diligence, real estate and infrastructures, hospitality and entertainment practices.
As part of our work product on such assignments, we typically provide our client’s senior management and Board of Directors with a report outlining the principal findings of our strategic review. In addition, we include, as appropriate, recommendations as to any perceived gaps or specific areas for improvement. If desired, we may organize sessions to present our conclusions to select members of the client’s management team.