At the recent Corporate Counsel Institute – Europe put on by the Georgetown University Law CLE program in London, participant Matthew King, Group Head of Internal Audit at HSBC was interviewed by Project Counsel Founder Gregory P. Bufithis on his opinion regarding one of the more important elements for implementing a successful compliance program. Mr. King stated that in his opinion, one of the key features of any successful compliance program was “escalate”.
By this he meant that in almost every circumstance regarding a compliance issue he had been involved with, at some point a situation arose where an employee did not report a situation or event up to an appropriate level for additional review. This failure to escalate led to the issue not reaching the right people in the company for review/action/resolution and the issue later became more difficult and more expensive to deal with in the company. Mr. King emphasized that a company needs to have a culture in place to not only allow elevation but to actively encourage elevation. Additionally both a structure and process for that structure must exist. Lastly, while a whistleblower process or hotlines are necessary these should not be viewed as the only systems which allow an employee to escalate a concern.
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