This podcast series features Don Stern, Managing Director, Corporate Monitors and Consulting Services at Affiliated Monitors, Inc. on working with monitors. At the end of this series you will have a much broader appreciation on the benefits of an independent monitor, how monitors work and how the different types of monitorships can benefit a wide variety of businesses, transactions and business relationships.

This series includes:

Fears and Concerns in Working with Monitors

There can be a wide variety of concerns for those considering or being required to work with a monitor, both from the corporate perspective and individual employees. From the corporate perspective, the concerns can include the costs of a monitorship and that impact on the bottom line; opening up books the books to an outsider and interference with business operations. These are acerbated by a fear the monitor does not understand the business of the organization or even how business in done in the real world.

Impact Monitors Can Have for an Organization

Interestingly many of the benefits of a company in working with a monitor come from answering the employees fears and concerns. Many employees are intimidated by attorneys and some even fell guilty about themselves and their work even though they have done nothing wrong. Often employees do not feel like them can trust the company, particularly if the company does not employ the Fair Process Doctrine or institutional justice as a core value of the organization.

How Monitors Do Their Jobs

Stern explained that there are variety of tasks and roles a monitor uses when engaging in an independent monitorship. A monitor should understand type of approaches they will take to make an organization more compliant, starting with understanding the work plan. Many times, the monitor must push the organization along by getting buy-in and building consensus. Finally, there should be an awareness of helping the company being compliant in the future.

Regulators Using Monitors

At its most basic level, an independent monitor is a way for the government to extend its reach. Both in terms of lengthening out the time that you have true government oversight and in terms through many of the techniques we discussed earlier:  focus group meetings, review documents, talking senior and middle management. It is a very cost-effective way for federal, state and even local governments to extend out their reach. This cost-effectiveness is driven home by that fact that the cost is not borne by the governmental entity or the regulators. The cost is borne by the entity involved.

Attorneys Using Monitors

Using an independent monitor in a pro-active manner which demonstrates how serious the company is about compliance. It can also be a way to demonstrate any illegal conduct may simply have been an outlier and does not reflect the values, culture and the way the company generally does business. This can provide quite a positive story to present to prosecutors, particularly under the new FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.

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