Internal Controls

News & Analysis as of

Compliance Training, Part I

In a recent Slate article, entitled “Ethics Trainings Are Even Dumber Than You Think”, author L.V. Anderson railed against what she termed box-checking training where companies put on training not to actually train employees...more

FCA Enforcement Action Overview

Reed Smith’s Enforcement Action by the FCA 2016 is a useful overview of enforcement action taken by the FCA in 2016. Enforcement action is important in terms of showing where the focus of the regulator is in terms of...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

Insider trading was a key focus this week. Two actions were brought based on information secured from the FDA and CMS by former employees who were employed by and investment adviser. Another case centered on tips by a...more

Defining “Effective” Ethics and Compliance Programs

The compliance profession faces many challenges. Some are more important than others. When it comes to evaluating performance, or measuring compliance programs, the profession has a steep uphill climb....more

Hong Kong Securities Laws Violations: SFC’s Case Against Moody’s – Part 2

On March 31, 2016, the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal (“SFAT”) upheld the disciplinary action of the SFC against Moody’s. This landmark decision is the first of its kind, as a disciplinary action brought by the...more

A Rush to Compliance: Patience is a Virtue

Compliance officers are, by definition, goal driven. They are high achievers and expect to succeed. So what. You may say – we all know that. Compliance officers are not the most patient group of people. They want to see...more

The SEC’s Return to Accounting Fraud Enforcement

Just like the ups and downs of the business cycle, SEC enforcement of accounting fraud cases follow an up and down trend as well. For example, during the financial crisis, SEC enforcement of accounting fraud cases took a back...more

Exceptional Plan Governance: Beat Back the Coming Litigation Onslaught

It was bound to happen. For several years, the plaintiffs’ bar has sued fiduciaries of large 401(k) plans asserting breach of their duties under ERISA by failing to exercise requisite prudence in permitting excessive...more

Tribute to Ali – The Greatest

The Greatest died this past Friday. There is only one man in my lifetime who earned that sobriquet and it was Muhammad Ali. Ali was the greatest sportsman in my lifetime and in 1999, he was named by the editors of Sports...more

A COSO Look at Control Objectives

Brian Christensen, in an article in Corporate Compliance Insights (CCI) entitled “The Updated COSO Framework: Time for a Fresh Look at Internal Control”, said that the updated 2013 COSO Framework retained the core definition...more

SEC continues to focus on internal control failures

The SEC has settled charges against Texas-based oil company Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (MHR) and several individuals. The list of individuals implicated in this proceeding includes MHR’s Chief Financial Officer,...more

Blog: House Passes Bill For Five-Year Extension Of JOBS Act Exemption From Auditor Attestation Requirement

On Monday, the House passed the Fostering Innovation Act of 2015, notwithstanding this letter to Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi from the SEC’s Investor Advocate urging a vote against it. The bill, which presumably now moves to...more

Corruption Risks and Corporate Social Responsibility Spending

Global companies have been embracing socially responsible spending projects to build stronger relationships with local communities. The idea makes a lot of sense and real projects can result in real benefits....more

Joe Howell on the PCAOB, Audits and Compliance – Part IV

This week I have been exploring the Public Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) with Joe Howell, an Executive Vice President (EVP) with Workiva Inc. We have considered how some of the issues addressed by the PCAOB directly...more

Theranos, the SEC’s Pursuit of Unicorns, and Taking the Reins of Internal Controls

In the wake of a host of negative developments, Theranos Inc. is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC and DOJ inquiries are likely to focus on...more

Joe Howell on the PCAOB, Audits and Compliance – Part I

I recently had the chance to visit with Joe Howell, the Executive Vice President (EVP) of Workiva LLC. Howell has been the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a number of public companies, mostly in the technology space, and...more

Unicorns Under Scrutiny: The SEC Previews Its “Long Arm” Of The Law

As we previously discussed, SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently delivered the keynote address at the Silicon Valley Initiative hosted by the SEC-Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. While the speech and...more

Managing Cybersecurity Risk for Nonprofit Organizations: A Fiduciary Duty?

We live in an era of increasingly prevalent cybercrime, and nonprofits are in the crosshairs.  Harvard University, Penn State University and two BlueCross BlueShield entities are just a few nonprofit organizations that...more

The FCPA and SOX and Internal Controls – Twin Sons of a Different Mother?

What is the interplay of two different pieces of legislation enacted almost 25 years apart in response to widely different crisis? In the case of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) quite a...more

Trends In Accounting Class Action Filings

Last year the number of securities class actions filed with accounting allegations exceeded the average over the last ten years. Likewise, the number of accounting cases filed last year alleging internal control violations...more

May the Fourth Be With You – The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund Awakens to Good Corporate Governance

May 4th is universally recognized (at least in the universe I inhabit) as Star Wars Day. According to Wikipedia, “May 4 is called Star Wars Day because of the popularity of a common pun spoken on this day. Since the phrase...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The SEC requested comment on the development of a consolidated audit trail this week, a concept long discussed. The audit trail would enable regulators to track trading activity in the U.S. markets. Enforcement initiated...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The Commission prevailed at trial in a market manipulation case. The trial followed a series of settlements and a grant of summary judgment in the Commission’s favor as to one defendant. The remaining defendant, a former NFL...more

Ketchum Clarifies How FINRA Will Assess a Firm’s Culture of Compliance

In an April 15, 2016 speech to the Brookings Institution, FINRA CEO Richard G. Ketchum addressed the fundamental question of whether the equity markets are sufficiently fair, flexible, and efficient to encourage the...more

SEC Prevails At Trial Over Former Professional Athlete

Sometimes is does not pay to be the last man standing – particularly in a Commission enforcement action. Such was the fate of former NFL player and Olympic athlete Willie Gault. SEC v. Heart Tronics, Inc., Case No....more

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