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Wednesday
Mar132013

Is this the world's best compliance disclosure?

Texas-based oil and gas services firm Baker Hughes once held the record for the biggest FCPA settlement of all time.

In 2007, the company paid $44.1 million in penalties and  disgorgement, an astonishing amount at the time, and a signal that enforcement was shifting into high gear.

These days, $44 million doesn't make the top ten list. But Baker Hughes' influence is still felt -- as a compliance leader and model for others.

The company's compliance disclosure is both realistic and practical. With, we think, a suitable blend of aspiration and inspiration.

Our thanks to Baker Hughes for spreading the compliance message by sharing their program with the public.

Here's the disclosure from Baker Hughes Incorporated's Form 10-K filed with the SEC last month:

___________

COMPLIANCE

We do business in more than 80 countries, including approximately 19 of the 40 countries having the lowest scores in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index survey for 2012, which indicates high levels of corruption. We devote significant resources to the development, maintenance, communication and enforcement of our Business Code of Conduct, our anti-bribery compliance policies, our internal control processes and procedures, and other compliance related policies.

Notwithstanding the devotion of such resources, and in part as a consequence thereof, from time to time we discover or receive information alleging potential violations of laws and regulations, including the FCPA and our policies, processes and procedures. We conduct timely internal investigations of these potential violations and take appropriate action depending upon the outcome of the investigation.

We anticipate that the devotion of significant resources to compliance-related issues, including the necessity for investigations, will continue to be an aspect of doing business in a number of the countries in which oil and natural gas exploration, development and production take place and in which we conduct operations. Compliance-related issues have limited our ability to do business and/or have raised the cost of operating in these countries. In order to provide products and services in some of these countries, we may in the future utilize ventures with third parties, sell products to distributors or otherwise modify our business approach in order to improve our ability to conduct our business in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and our Business Code of Conduct.

Our Best-in-Class Global Ethics and Compliance Program (“Compliance Program”) is based on (i) our Core Values of Integrity, Performance, Teamwork and Learning; (ii) the standards contained in our Business Code of Conduct; and (iii) the laws of the countries where we operate. Our Compliance Program is referenced within the Company as “C2” or “Completely Compliant.” The Completely Compliant theme is intended to establish the proper Tone-at-the-Top throughout the Company. Employees are consistently reminded that they play a crucial role in ensuring that the Company always conducts its business ethically, legally and safely.

Highlights of our Compliance Program include the following:   

  • We have comprehensive internal policies over such areas as facilitating payments; travel, entertainment, gifts and charitable donations connected to non-U.S. government officials; payments to non-U.S. commercial sales representatives; and the use of non-U.S. police or military organizations for security purposes. In addition, we have country-specific guidance for customs standards, export and re-export controls, economic sanctions and antiboycott laws.
  • We have a comprehensive employee compliance training program covering substantially all employees.   
  • We have a due diligence procedure for commercial sales, processing and professional agents, an enhanced process for classifying distributors and are creating a formal policy to guide business personnel in determining when subcontractors should be subjected to compliance due diligence.   
  • We have a special compliance committee, which is made up of senior officers, that meets no less than once a year to review the oversight reports for all active commercial sales representatives.
  • We have continued our reduction of the use of commercial sales representatives and processing agents, including the reduction of customs agents.
  • We use technology to monitor and report on compliance matters, including a web-based antiboycott reporting tool and a global trade management software tool.
  • We have a program designed to encourage reporting of any ethics or compliance matter without fear of retaliation including a worldwide Business Helpline operated by a third party and currently available toll-free in 150 languages to ensure that our helpline is easily accessible to employees in their own language.
  • We have continued to expand the use and scope of our centralized finance organization including further implementation of our enterprise-wide accounting system and company-wide policies. In addition, the corporate audit function has incorporated additional anti-corruption procedures in audits of certain countries. We are also continuing to refine and enhance our procedures for FCPA risk assessments and legal audit procedures.
  • We continue to work to ensure that we have adequate legal compliance coverage around the world, including the coordination of compliance advice and training across all regions and countries where we do business.
  • We are continuing to centralize our human resources function, including creating consistent standards for pre-hire screening of employees, the screening of existing employees prior to promoting them to positions where they may be exposed to corruption-related risks, and creating a uniform policy for new hire training.

__________

Reader Comments (2)

That is impressive. I admire whoever wrote and approved that statement.
March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB
It would be interesting to see how Baker Hughes will balance the increased cost and devotion to ABC compliance at the same time hintting that they migth actually be looking to use more intermediary/representation arrangements in "certain countries" rather then direct controlled subsidiaries.
March 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJDO

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