Publication | Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

Answering to a Higher Authority: Sovereign-Mandated Oversight in the Board Room and the C-Suite

Thomas F. O’Neil III and Brendan T. Kennedy



The relationship between business organizations and the sovereign agencies that regulate them is being redefined domestically and abroad. In the context of corporate enforcement proceedings, a critical challenge is how to achieve, most effectively, the time-honored public sector objectives of punishment, deterrence, financial restitution and rehabilitation. At issue are important policy considerations and at stake are the integrity and security of the commercial marketplace.

The public sector increasingly must balance the pressures of limited resources against the need to ensure that corporate citizens behave not only lawfully, but ethically and responsibly. One solution that has been adopted is the imposition of independent, private sector oversight on companies and firms that have been the targets or subjects of investigations. While its success to date has varied, this evolving joint venture model is undeniably viable and it will become even more appealing to enforcement officials in this global era of fiscal restraint.

Answering to a Higher Authority addresses the evolution of private sector oversight and its implementation domestically and in capitalist nations abroad. With equal importance, this Article explores various policy considerations and offers refinements and solutions to all constituencies related to the selection, retention and deployment of independent consultants and monitors.

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Thomas O'Neil

Managing Director

Washington, DC