Company Leaders: Listen Keenly to Your Compliance Officers

October 1, 2020
LRN Corporation

Company leaders should listen closely to their compliance officers and fix points of vulnerability to help avoid serious compliance and corruption issues down the road, says Lisa Osofsky, director of the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, the government agency charged with investigating and prosecuting serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption cases.

Osofsky, who cut her teeth prosecuting organized crime and corruption in Chicago with the U.S. Department of Justice, discussed key corporate issues in ethics, compliance, and risk during a recent video interview with LRN’s Sarah Cole and Mike Wright.

In-depth conversations between senior management and compliances officers and risk advisors are an "invitation to really dig deep and do the diligence you need," when it comes to working to prevent serious compliance missteps at companies, said Osofsky. Organizations should pay close attention to third-party suppliers and agents, as "in many of the corruption cases, [they] are the weak point that can get corporates in trouble."

Her main tips for companies to help themselves steer clear of problems: heed the law; put adequate procedures in place; and train people effectively in the language with which they are most comfortable.

Osofsky discusses how global agencies, such as the SFO and DOJ, can collaborate better. The most helpful way to improve international cooperation is to understand perceptions, terminology, and language are not universal across global agencies. For example, the term deferred prosecution agreement has a slightly different meaning in the U.K. as it does in the U.S.

Other topics tackled in the interview: COVID-19’s impact on prosecution for the SFO; the U.K. Bribery Act compared to U.S. DOJ guidelines; how Osofsky’s FBI experience has helped her at the SFO; and the difficulties faced by the SFO in gathering evidence when investigating and prosecuting organizations.

The video interview is available in full and in seven short segments on LRN’s website. Please visit our SFO page to watch the interview and learn more.

About the Author

LRN Corporation

Ethics and compliance leader providing tools, education, and advisory services for global companies to inspire principled performance.

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