Conflict of interest certifications: Part One – Who and How

There’s one way to find out if a man is honest – ask him.  If he says, “Yes,” you know he is a crook.  Groucho Marx There is, of course, something to this bit of Marxist logic. But, on balance, the benefits of “asking” in a C&E program can be considerable, and […]

Expanding the mandate of trust


Should compliance officers be optimists?

Optimism generally correlates with success in the world of work.  As  noted in Canadian Lawyer Magazine,(https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/resources/practice-management/is-it-best-to-hire-a-pessimistic-lawyer/357090) “Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania – who studies positive psychology – found that most optimists do better in life than merited by their talents alone.” This finding apparently applies across a wide […]

2024 Behavioral Ethics & Compliance Index

Jeffrey M. Kaplan While in the more than twelve years of its existence the Conflict of   Interest Blog has been devoted primarily to examining traditional conflicts of interest it has also run quite a few posts on what behavioral ethics might mean for corporate compliance and ethics programs. Below is an updated version of […]

Standards for waivers of conflicts of interest

By Jeffrey M. Kaplan While some organizations bar conflicts of interest in all cases, many opt for allowing COIs to exist where appropriate. But how should appropriate be defined for these purposes? One formulation that I have recommended to various organizations: A COI may be approved only where doing so would […]

Does the Supreme Court think that ethics is only for the “little people”?

The late Leona Helmsley, a controversial real estate developer, is reported to have said that “only the little people pay taxes.”  One might ask if the US Supreme Court has a similar view of ethics. Reports in ProPublica this year detailed a pattern of behavior by Supreme Court justices that […]

Assessing the C&E Investigations Process

by Rebecca Walker and Jeff Kaplan Investigations are one of the more difficult and riskier activities of an C&E program. Poorly-conducted investigations can create serious legal risks for an organization. In addition, the mishandling of investigations can damage the way in which employees perceive C&E programs, in particular where the […]

The Value of Starting Simple: A Risk Assessment Spreadsheet

by Jeff Kaplan For those just getting started with compliance risk assessments, the KISS approach can be invaluable.  And by KISS, I mean “Keep it Simple with Spreadsheets.”  Spreadsheets are not mandatory in conducting risk assessments, of course.  But for the beginners in this area, they can be exceedingly useful.  […]

Combining Conflict of Interest Program and Risk Assessments

COI risk assessments and program assessments are two different things. But they can overlap to some degree and so it makes sense to consider how/how much they should fit under “one roof.” This is particularly so when both procedures are based principally on employee interviews, with some danger of duplication. […]

Curtailing compliance “waste?”

My latest column in SCCE’s C&E https://bit.ly/46c1GMW I hope you find it useful.