Compliance and Communications Strategies


On Nov. 17, Fordham Law’s Compliance Programs hosted a talk on compliance issues in Brazil and the United States where legal and compliance experts from both countries compared notes on the evolution of anti-corruption frameworks, the geopolitical context, and emerging enforcement trends. Renato Cirne, head of legal and compliance at FSB Comunicação, was one such expert. He spoke about the importance of aligning communication strategies with compliance efforts. Compliance professionals often speak about greater alignment to business strategy and positioning compliance as an enabler, rather than a hindrance to business, in industry circles. It may seem obvious that these things should work in harmony; business strategy should be informed by risk appetite, which should be informed by an accurate 360°-degree view of the risks themselves. But this isn’t always the case, which is much to blame for the historical tension between the revenue generating functions of organizations and those charged with managing regulatory and reputation risk. Below Cirne makes a case for compliance and communications to get on the same page. Ultimately, messages delivered to an organization’s stakeholders must be consistent with the handshakes made between business and compliance if a compliance program is to be truly effective.
Alice BrightSky, senior director of compliance programs

by Renato Cirne
It is certainly a requirement: Every rule to be fulfilled must be known. The constant dissemination of compliance principles, for all its stakeholders, allows alignment inside and outside a company. Research and even the comparison of the market value of listed companies prove that good communication strategies highly leverages the results of compliance programs.
I have just returned from the United States where I defended this commitment at two different seminars. I have been one of the speakers, proudly side by side with American and Brazilian experts such as Luke Brussel, AJ Bosco, Bruno Barata, Odilon Castello Borges, and Felipe Santa Cruz, president of Rio de Janeiro Bar Association. Alongside with Santa Cruz, in the New York City Bar Association I analyzed Brazil’s reform agenda. At Fordham Law School in New York, I was a speaker in the seminar “United States and Brazil – A Discussion of Issues in Compliance.” At Fordham, I firmly stated that legal issues, transparency, and communication need to work side by side.
The very definition of crisis—violent and sudden manifestation of balance rupture—highlights its aspect of unpredictability. But I have also presented a survey that states that only 14% of these crisis events are sudden, such as a result of accidents or disasters. The vast majority (86%) is a result of intrinsic issues at companies. So they can and should be soften or mitigated by a compliance program that maps risks and establishes safe behaviors. Compliance programs driven by consistent communication strategies protect the reputation of the company.
In this regard, the Economist‘s intelligence unit recently stated that companies that react quickly with good corporate strategy and communication procedures come out of a crisis event with their reputations intact and sometimes even strengthened.
In Brazil, market value of companies affected by “Lava Jato” Operation proves this statement. Those companies that reacted with transparency and communicated their views and efforts were able to overcome their crisis scenario.
Brazil’s recent events made it undeniable fact: Compliance and communication strategies should work side by side. It’s definitely a win-win situation for either overcoming or preventing crisis.”

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