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05 Apr

7 Corporate Compliance Insights for 2019

The regulatory landscape is constantly shifting, as are corporate risk management best practices. Smart organizations remain agile and ready to adapt to new challenges. If you've been working in corporate compliance for a while, you know just how essential it is to stay on top of these changes, whether that means revising your corporate compliance program or improving the training offered to your organization's employees.1 This makes the knowledge and skills provided by Master’s of Legal Studies (MLS) programs, like the Online MLS in Corporate Compliance from Santa Clara University School of Law, invaluable.

2018 introduced significant challenges in corporate risk management and corporate compliance — cyberattacks, data exposure,2 revelations about sexual misconduct, and social media fiascos, just to mention a few. As 2019 ramps up, corporate compliance officers will continue responding to last year's scandals as well as changing expectations about corporate culture. But what will the next year look like for corporate compliance? To answer that, we've gathered seven key corporate compliance insights from compliance thought leaders around the globe.

Ethics Over Compliance

A thread running through a number of anticipated trends in 2019 is the idea that companies need to go beyond following the letter of the law to embody the ethical heart at its core. Whether it's the Justice Department looking more favorably on an organization that is clearly trying to correct problems3 or consumers choosing to support an organization based on its reputation,4 companies have a lot to gain from developing a culture that genuinely embraces ethical action. A corporate culture that truly values ethics can lead naturally to compliance throughout your organization.5

Sexual Misconduct

In the wake of national and international conversations about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, companies are going to need to address these concerns on a cultural level.6 It's not enough just to set rules or establish training programs to avoid corporate scandals; employees and customers need to be confident that your company won't tolerate this kind of behavior.4

Data Privacy and Data Protection

In response to data breaches in 2018, it's anticipated there will be more regulatory crackdowns on data privacy in 2019, and fines will be more significant as well.2 Organizations will need to prioritize data privacy and follow the law as well as ethical best practices with regard to data analytics.7

Third-Party Management

Organizations will continue to need to go beyond basic due diligence in vetting third parties. Before getting involved with third parties,5 it's important to determine that their business practices are ethical, that they are sufficiently considering data privacy issues, and that they don't come with scandals or political involvement that might affect the organization's reputation. Take the time and invest the money needed to be sure of any prospective third-party business partners in advance and you'll avoid headaches down the road.3

Social Media

Newer communication outlets, especially social media, are here to stay and are becoming increasingly important in how companies do business.2 An employee or executive speaking off-the-cuff on social media can turn into a public relations nightmare, but you also can't control everything your employees say and do online. Best practices for risk management would be to ensure your organization has written supervisory procedures (WSP) in place for social media, text messages, collaboration platforms, and any other method of communication.2

Growing Accountability and Increased Regulations

Regulators are cracking down more readily and harshly in response to compliance violations.5 The SEC has been holding companies accountable and handing down harsh fines for insufficient compliance programs or failing to notice or report suspicious behavior.2 Companies need to take a proactive approach in monitoring their workforce to prevent problems and, in case something does arise, be able to demonstrate to the SEC that they are committed to complying with regulations.3

Compliance From the Top Down

Your entire organization and its leadership need to make compliance a priority. As important as it is to hire dedicated corporate compliance officers, it's not enough to let it be siloed and designated to just one group of people. Compliance affects everyone in your organization, and they need to be involved as well. Your compliance team needs to be collaborating with the rest of your organization, and everyone from the C-level down7 needs to be acting and making decisions with compliance in mind.

2019 Corporate Risk Management Outlook

Overall, 2019 looks to be less about new compliance requirements and more about adapting to the changes from last year. Corporate compliance officers should be prepared to guide their organizations through evolutions in technology (in the form of communication methods, data and, privacy) as well as questions about a company's ethical identity.

Companies are under greater scrutiny than ever before, both from the SEC and other regulatory bodies and from consumers themselves. It's time to step up and make compliance and ethics part of your corporate culture.

Getting an Online Master of Legal Studies in Corporate Compliance from Santa Clara University School of Law can provide you with a foundation of legal knowledge you can put to work in a variety of fields, from finance to healthcare and human resources. It can also help you stand out as a compliance champion in your company.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to advance your career in compliance, contact a Santa Clara Admissions Advisor to learn how you can help safeguard your business against corporate scandals and grow your company’s bottom line at the same time.

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