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Effective Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law

In a paper for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Annual Institute, co-authors Kathryn Cameron Atkinson and Andrew Wise discuss how effective anti-corruption compliance programs can not only mitigate enforcement risk and related reputational harm, but also promote operational efficiency and business growth for resource companies. "As enforcement of anti-corruption laws becomes more aggressive and built on multinational cooperation, companies doing business in this changing environment must continuously improve their compliance program and embrace the available data reflecting emerging risk," Atkinson and Wise write. Contrary to the period immediately following adoption of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), companies now can draw from many sources of official guidance regarding the establishment, maintenance, and evaluation of an effective risk-based compliance program.  Companies should consider an array of factors when creating their anti-corruption compliance program, including high-level commitment risk assessments, policies and procedures, training and communications, a confidential reporting structure and investigation process, third-party management, mergers and acquisitions, compliance function independence, autonomy and resources, incentives and discipline, and monitoring and testing to inform continuous improvement. The authors conclude that, "[w]here properly integrated into the business and driven by cross-functional collaboration, such initiatives provide not only legal protection but also business advantage."