One need not look far to see how complex business has become from a legal and regulatory perspective. The number of anticorruption and privacy laws has exploded globally. At the same time, sanctions regimes have grown ever more complex. In addition, all of this comes against a background of long-standing requirements in areas such as anticompetition law, government contracting requirements and managing conflicts of interest.By Adam Turteltaub
For the corporate marketplace, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) has long been a beacon of guidance and support in navigating legal, regulatory, and ethical challenges. Established in 2004, SCCE is a not-for-profit institution claiming over 7500 individual members across more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “…champion ethical practice and compliance standards and to provide the necessary resources, education and networking opportunities for ethics and compliance professionals and others who share these principles.”
Serving its membership grows increasingly important as regulatory schemes develop and evolve in both number and complexity. Privacy, for example, has grown to be an ever-greater concern for individuals and governments. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) created a host of obligations for companies. It, however, is not the only regime out there. Global organizations must comply with numerous country-specific regulations as well as state by state requirements in the US.
Anti-corruption laws have followed a similar trajectory. The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has since been joined by the UK Bribery Act, Sapin II in France, and several others with, potentially, an EU directive coming shortly.
On the sanctions front, organizations must deal with a constantly changing lists of individuals and entities moving on and off sanctions lists.
Together these and other legal frameworks have raised demands on business and call for stronger, up-to-date compliance programs led by individuals who understand what makes for best practice.
SCCE helps meet this demand by pursuing a multi-pronged approach which is based on the expertise of experienced practitioners sharing insights with each other.
One of the association’s most notable programs is its Basic Compliance & Ethics Academy. The Academy is offered in Dubai, Sao Paulo, and Singapore each year, plus twice a year in Europe and numerous times in the US. It provides three and a half days of intensive, classroom-style training in the fundamentals of managing a compliance and ethics program.
With over 9,000 graduates worldwide, it is the largest provider of training for the corporate compliance community. Many organizations have come to use the Academy to ensure that its workers, no matter where they are, enjoy consistent training in how to manage a compliance and ethics program.
The Academy takes compliance officers through the essential elements of a compliance program. The classes are highly interactive, with attendees broken up frequently into groups for exercises which help them apply their newly learned skill.
SCCE also offers a host of conferences each year. Its European Compliance & Ethics Institute (ECEI) is held each spring and offers compliance professionals multiple tracks of sessions to choose from. It covers the broad spectrum of compliance topics, from best practices for compliance training to managing whistleblowers to how to manage the latest legal and regulatory risks.
The 2024 ECEI will be held 18-20 March in Amsterdam.
In the US, the annual Compliance & Ethics Institute is offered in the fall and draws over 1,000 participants from around the globe.
Both the Compliance & Ethics Institute and European Compliance & Ethics Institute are offered in a hybrid format, enabling individuals to attend either virtually or in person.
The association also offers a wide range of specialty conferences, many of them in a virtual format. Among them are workshops on auditing and monitoring, creating effective compliance training, risk assessment, and conducting investigations. These programs are designed to help compliance teams both broaden and deepen their skills.
The association also publishes several books, as well as a magazine to keep its members informed. Its Complete Compliance and Ethics Manual lives up to the “Complete” in its title. The publication was written by more than 95 compliance and ethics experts and provides 1276 pages of content. Included in it are a number of tools such as a sample audit review form, sample hotline information sheet and a checklist for managing third-party risk.
The Manual is available as a two-volume set or, like the rest of the association’s publications, is accessible digitally via COSMOS (www.compliancecosmos.org), SCCE’s online content platform.
COSMOS provides a rich resource to compliance professionals. SCCE members can also access current and former issues of the association magazine Compliance and Ethics Professional.
For those compliance and ethics professionals wanting to demonstrate their expertise, the association offers two designations: Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) and Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional – International (CCEP-I). The former is US-centric, with the latter focused on common direction for compliance programs across multiple jurisdictions.
The CCEP and CCEP-I designations enable compliance professionals to demonstrate their knowledge of relevant regulations and their expertise in compliance processes.
Earning the certification requires at least a year of work in compliance, 20 continuing education units (CEUs) in the previous year – that education need not come from SCCE – and passing a multiple-choice exam. Certifications must be renewed every two years, and doing so requires ongoing continuing education to ensure that the individual stays current on compliance challenges and practices.
Ethics is also a strong component of the SCCE’s work, with a track on the topic at the annual Compliance & Ethics Institute. The association also publishes a code of ethics for compliance and ethics professionals.
As the pandemic continues to wane and the world returns to a more normal mode, the association will continue to serve the compliance community, addressing new challenges such as the impact on remote and hybrid work on corporate culture. At the same time, it will continue to address the ongoing challenges compliance teams face, such as securing management support, helping to build a culture of compliance, responding to cyber security threats, and making it safe for employees to come forward and raise concerns without fear of retaliation.
The bottom line for organizations is that no matter where they operate and what business they are in, compliance and ethics challenges will always exist. SCCE will be there to help those on the front lines of managing those challenges do so successfully.