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BH Compliance is an enterprise that measures the effectiveness of corporate governance practices, allowing companies to evaluate and verify the efficacy of their good practices, in addition to facilitating the early detection of possible gaps to correct them on time to prevent white-collar crimes and improve their bottom line more effectively. Pulse 2.0 interviewed BH Compliance CEO Susana Sierra to learn more about the company.

Susana Sierra’s Background

Sierra’s passion for fighting corruption has led her to serve as past President of the Chilean Chapter of Transparency International, a speaker and professor of MBA programs, diplomas, and forums in universities across the world. And in 2020, she was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Formation Of BH Compliance

How did the idea for the company come together? Sierra said:

“I studied business and have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which motivated me to establish the Independízate Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs in getting their businesses off the ground. That passion led me to the world of compliance in 2010 when Chile joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD.”

“And that move highlighted the need for companies to have compliance monitoring. From there, we developed a business model with BH Compliance to assess the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs. Using Blockchain tech and G-Metrix, our company generates and safeguards compliance evidence to protect our clients against economic crime claims and investigations by the US Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and other agencies.”

Favorite Memory

What has been your favorite memory working for the company so far? Sierra shared:

“In early 2014, I set a goal for BH Compliance to expand internationally beyond Chile. Within a few weeks, we received a call from a potential client in Panama. We quickly flew to Panama and began working there. Since then, we have continued to expand across the Americas.”

Core Products

What are the company’s core products and features? Sierra explained:

“BH Compliance offers G-Metrix, a tech-powered tool that brings visibility to a company’s corporate actions and provides a clear roadmap for advancing toward better governance and the highest standards of corporate excellence. We also offer Comply Pulse, a platform that ensures that compliance programs work, measuring their effectiveness and allowing the compliance officer and management to visualize and correct gaps, generating evidence in blockchain that protects the company and improves the bottom line.”

Challenges Faced

What challenges have you faced in building the company? Sierra acknowledged:

“Corruption is a global concern, with Latin America consistently ranking among the most corrupt regions worldwide. When I launched BH Compliance over a decade ago, the topics of compliance, its significance for companies, and the consequences and expenses associated with its absence were rarely discussed. For that reason, my main challenge lay in persuading companies of the critical significance of compliance, emphasizing not just the ‘what’ in their business practices but, more importantly, the ‘how’ they are conducted.”

Evolution Of The Company’s Technology

How has the company’s technology evolved since launching? Sierra noted:

“As BH Compliance has expanded, the company has incorporated more technology into its services, including the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain provides a new level of security and authenticity to evidentiary documents that may be needed in the event of a compliance investigation five to ten years down the road. With evidence of their efforts stored on the blockchain, their stockholders can have a higher level of assurance that a company is doing its best to prevent corruption and other economic crimes.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Sierra cited:

“In 2021, I led the company’s expansion into the United States to work with US-based multinationals with operations in Latin America. We saw an increase in demand for our services to measure corporate governance and compliance in Latin American affiliates to ensure best practices and keep corruption at bay.”

“Furthermore, in early 2022, BH Compliance incorporated blockchain technology into our compliance monitoring service to ensure the integrity of the collected data and provide greater transparency and traceability to the information. Blockchain records are immutable, providing companies with strong evidence of good practices to defend against any investigation.”

“In November 2022, we launched G-Metrix with the belief that the ‘G’ in the ESG criteria for governance should be the first step for companies to truly advance sustainability and be part of the changes demanded by the current world.”

“Another milestone for me was being invited to be a panelist at the IX Summit of the Americas last year. The panel, titled ‘Technology Delivers: Anticorruption and Transparency’ (Los Angeles, 2022), allowed me to address a very influential group of business leaders from the Americas. Another important moment in my career has been participating in The World Economic Forum: 2022 Forum of Young Global Leaders Annual Summit Intellect and Insight Leadership/Workshop (Geneva, 2022). Early this year, I was awarded ‘CEO of the Year’ 2023 by Women in Governance, Risk, and Compliance in London, UK.”

Customer Success Stories

After asking Sierra about customer success stories, she cited:

“The pandemic proved the importance of our product, as we were able to continue monitoring companies’ compliance programs even when most of the world was unable to conduct business in person. However, the pandemic also led to an increase in compliance risks, as more and more companies adopted remote work and were not always following the procedures that were in place.”

“For example, existing petty cash policies typically require in-person signatures and authorizations. Our platform detected that many businesses were changing their procedures to adapt to the pandemic, but they were not adjusting their policies accordingly. This left gaps in policies that could be exploited for corrupt purposes or could be used against the company in the event of a later investigation.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Sierra affirmed:

“Many companies have established compliance departments, but too often they operate as an island. That means compliance is not always integrated into the operation of each department, and the compliance division ends up being isolated. BH Compliance acts as an extension of the compliance division by monitoring each department and making sure each operation follows the company’s compliance program. When we find areas that are lacking compliance, we bring it to the compliance officer’s attention to fix that situation.  Overall, BH Compliance evaluates all aspects of a company from a business perspective, not just the compliance department, to ensure the company as a whole adheres to the five pillars of good corporate governance.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of the company’s future company goals? Sierra pointed out:

“We are working towards launching G-Metrix globally to educate companies on the importance of governance (G) in ESG. We are currently piloting the program with companies in the US and Europe to prepare for the global launch. We believe that focusing on G performance is key to launching effective and sustainable environmental and social (E and S) initiatives.”

Additional Thoughts

Any other topics to discuss? Sierra concluded:

“Governance (G) should be the first pillar of ESG, but it is often the least popular. Even with well-implemented environmental and social strategies, a business cannot be sustainable, consistent, or risk-resilient without well-defined governance. A clear and robust governance model enables companies to respond to the needs of the moment and the future. Ultimately, the success of any ESG program depends on the strength of the G.”

Source: Pulse 2.0