September 26, 2011

Former Federal Prosecutor Envisions an Entirely New Type of Corporate Ombuds

In a post on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Blog, attorney Michael Volkov offers up proposal to make internal whistleblowing more attractive to companies and their employees. Volkov suggests an Ombuds reporting to senior leadership that would hear from potential whistleblowers. The 'Whistleblower Ombudsman' would investigate, make recommendations, and coordinate with the SEC, if the complaint was covered by SEC statutes and regulations.

Volkov says that this type of Ombuds would offer a legitimate alternative to potential whistleblowers and it would evidence a company's commitment to address misconduct. The post is short, but Volkov does not compare his proposed Whistleblower Ombudsman with either of the existing Ombuds schemes. Volkov, a partner with the law firm of Mayer Brown, is a former federal prosecutor. His practice now focuses on white collar defense, corporate compliance, internal investigations, regulatory enforcement matters and complex commercial litigation. (FCPA Blog; Mayer Brown Bio.)


  1. Some features of Whistleblower Ombudsman would fit USOA or IOA model: independence, confidentiality.
    Some features fit only IOA model: organizational stakeholders, upward feedback.
    Some features fit only USOA model: investigations, coordination with regulatory agency.
    Maybe best match is financial services ombudsmen in Canada and UK.

  2. True...this is unlike anything that currently exists in the US.