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Top Three Stories of 2012: Susan Blount, GC of Prudential Financial
Wholesale changes to financial services regulation. When Dodd-Frank passed in July 2010, it contemplated 398 separate rule-makings by regulatory agencies. As of July 2012, 30.9 percent of the rules contemplated by Dodd-Frank had been finalized. Yet the impact on law and compliance in the financial services industry has already been substantial. New regulatory regimes for derivatives and hedge funds have resulted in demand for experienced compliance officers. Companies are devoting substantial resources to identifying important issues, coordinating responses, and preparing for further developments that appear inevitable. Organizations with operations overseas are facing similar challenges in other jurisdictions.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA and similar laws around the world continue to change the conduct of business and the focus of American compliance programs. The New York Times ran a story about alleged corruption by Wal-Mart in Mexico that will inform the conduct of corporate internal investigations for years to come. In another FCPA story, a Morgan Stanley employee pled guilty to an FCPA violation and received a prison sentence, but his employer was exonerated because of its robust compliance program.
Social media. Changing communication technologies have presented new challenges to in-house lawyers. Companies are adopting social media policies to define expectations of privacy, and set standards for use of social media at home and workon personal and business devices. These policies have to take into account regulatory standards of supervision in some industries that challenge the expectations of employees just entering the workplace. Courts have entered the fray, as employers and employees identify these conflicting expectations.