Alexandra Wrage, who heads the compliance training nonprofit TRACE International (and writes the "Compliance Insider" column for CorpCounsel.com), participated in a roundtable discussion with the agencies prior to the completion of the document. "I think they heard that what we needed was practical, clear guidance," she says. "They acted on that."
Companies that have already adopted compliance programs will take comfort from the new guide, Wrage continues: "I think most well-governed companies will find this document reassuring." For those that aren't up to speed, she adds, it may come as a "wake-up call."
Some lawyers hadn't been expecting much. Lucinda Low, who leads the FCPA practice at Steptoe & Johnson, was pleasantly surprised by the "depth and detail" she found in the guidance. "I had low expectations for these guidelines, and I'd say there's more here than I expected," she says.
For compliance officers, it's a useful resource that emphasizes "the notion that not all risks are equal," Low says. "It may help them prioritize, and it may give them something they can show to their management." Or "ammunition to go to their boards," adds John Carney, a Baker & Hostetler partner (and former SEC securities fraud chief).