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2016 Legal and Compliance Headline Roundup

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2016 Legal Compliance Headline RoundupFrom a legal and compliance standpoint, 2016 has been a race to keep up, take a step back, then remain in standby as updates, delays, and blockages are issued.

This, however, is the reality every year.

As we enter 2017 with more questions than answers, let’s take a look back on how we arrived here.

Trump Wins Presidency

As with every election cycle, the 2016 Presidential election promised sweeping change from both sides of the aisle as business owners, legal teams, and experts prepared for either outcome.

Of course, many questions are arising due to the success of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. What happens in 2017 is anybody’s guess, but there will undoubtedly be changes to the ACA.

These changes, however, are likely to occur over the course of years. Unfortunately for Compliance Officers and management teams, any changes come with new challenges. In 2016, Compliance Officers continuously monitored any and all changes to the law to keep clients up-to-date—a practice that will remain well into 2017 and beyond.

Overtime Rule is Blocked

The lead-up to the December 1st deadline was both treacherous and ever-evolving since its inception. As management teams scrambled to meet the deadline, it was suddenly blocked in the final hours before effect by Texas Judge Amos Mazzant. Suddenly, things stood still and management teams were left in the dark.

…and that is where we remain today. Yes, there have been motions to expedite the briefing of President Obama’s appeal, but any action remains at a standstill.

Many await President Trump to weigh in on the issue, however he may not have much say in the ruling decision. Like the ACA, a reversal could take years to accomplish. It is wise for businesses to remain prepared for the Overtime Ruling to stay compliant should it move forward in 2017.

Compliancy Takes Center Stage

2016 continued proving how beneficial compliancy is to organizations. An annual study regarding intangible assets found that 84% of S&P 500 company market values were derived from intangibles, courtesy of JD Supra Business Advisor. Referenced intangibles include reputation protection, compliance with law, and much more.

Other highlights include reduced risk of expensive prosecution—a metric tied to the efforts and importance of compliance, employee training, and anonymous reporting systems.

As more organizations embrace the importance of a multi-faceted compliance strategy, investments will surely rise and pay dividends. Companies who self-disclose have been extended an olive-branch of sorts by the federal government, granting fine reductions and the possibility of no prosecution.

There will always be an obligation to remain compliant, but new avenues and opportunities are coming to light, positioning compliance as a top concern for companies in 2016.

Wells Fargo Scandal Further Highlights Importance of Compliance

When news broke that employees at Wells Fargo opened over 2 million accounts without authorization – or customer knowledge – since 2011, onlookers gained a sudden understanding of the importance of compliance.

Over five thousand employees were fired for their involvement and Wells Fargo accepted a fine of $185 million. As a result, more companies are ramping up efforts to instill internal protocols that protect it from any reputation-damaging investigations that may occur, quickly learning from the scandal.

Wells Fargo took a huge hit because of a lack of internal oversight—a lesson that resonates with organizations who had previously placed compliance measures as low-priority.

2017 will bring a new set of standards, rulings, and laws that are certain to keep legal and compliance teams on their toes. Balance Point is certain to keep you up-to-date with any pressing issues to ensure you remain compliant, protected, and successful.

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