Thomas Fox recently shared this thought-provoking analogy on his blog: You can fine tune a piano, but you can't ‘tuna fish’; and offered advice on fine tuning your compliance program.
An important part of refining a song (and tuning a piano even if you can’t tune a fish) is the feedback loop, allowing listeners to answer important questions like: How does this sound? Is this arrangement of notes producing the desired sound? Aside from Beethoven finishing his Ninth Symphony while deaf, the process of understanding what’s really happening is critical to composing. And this feedback is even more important in the performance of a piece of music. Musicians rely on their own ears to understand how well their production matches the intent. The same is true in compliance programs. It’s valuable to get feedback on the design of the program and it’s even more important to understand the performance of the program. Monitoring the performance gives you the information you need to improve the program.
The regulatory authorities understand the value of the feedback loop. In the legendary Morgan Stanley declination the DOJ cited both the quality of their program and the fact that they performed ongoing transaction monitoring to understand the quality of the performance.