Background of the Working Group Investigations
«The company is conducting a full internal investigation». This public statement accompanies virtually every modern corporate affair reported in the news media. The awareness of Swiss corporations and their senior management of the importance of internal investigations has strongly increased over the past few years. Civil, criminal, regulatory and reputational exposure regularly triggers senior management’s duty to investigate and to assess potential misconduct within the firm. The WG Investigations, co-chaired by Daniel Lucien Bühr and Daniel S. Weber, serves as a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas and aims to bring together practitioners involved in internal and regulatory investigations.
The WG is open to ECS members as well as other interested parties, such as ethics & compliance officers, investigation specialists, private practice lawyers specializing in investigations, regulators, prosecutors, forensic accountants, consultants, risk managers, auditors, eDiscovery counsel, etc. The WG organizes regular meetings, presentations and conference calls to promote the exchange of know-how and experience, the discussion of important developments and key topics and to further networking among all those who share an interest in internal and regulatory investigations. In particular, case studies will be presented to discuss trigger events, governance, life cycle as well as project set-ups of investigations. This includes related legal (e.g., legal privilege, data privacy) and non-legal issues (e.g., interviewing skills, crisis management and communication).
Events during 2019
On 27 November 2019, Peter Braun, Senior Legal Counsel with ENQUIRE Attorneys-at-Law, joined the ECS Working Groups Investigations and Whistleblowing and shared his insights into Whistleblowing concepts, rules and processes in Switzerland and the U.S. While Switzerland is struggling to introduce robust rules on Whistleblowing in the first place, Whistleblowing in the U.S. “is as American as apple pie”. As the former Head of Whistleblowing Matters for the Americas for a global Swiss bank, Peter gained a unique experience in the U.S. legal and regulatory environment and was in a perfect position to compare the two countries and their concepts. The WG’s were very lucky to have his expert insights! After Peter’s presentation, a distinguished panel of whistleblowing experts including Walter Mäder (Retired Federal Prosecutor), Christian Hauser (Professor at HTW Chur and Co-Author of the 2019 Whistleblowing Report), Peter Braun and Daniel Weber (Moderator, Co-Chair WG Investigations) discussed the Swiss draft proposal on Whistleblowing as well as the recently published ECS White Paper on Whistleblower protection in the Swiss private sector. The panel agreed that the adoption of the new WB law would send a strong signal. The event was sold out with more than 70 people attending.
On 10 September 2019, Dominic Steffen, Partner at the Zurich Law Firm Winzeler Steffen, shared his insights into how to establish the facts in an internal investigation and at the same time adhere to Swiss employment and data privacy laws. Dominic discussed which investigative steps employers may perform to assess potential misconduct without violating the rights of their employees and what rights employees have and which not. Dominic provided the Working Group with an overview about the review of business and private communications, the employees duty to provide complete and truthful information, potential employee representation during interview and the use of employee interview minutes. The event was a great success with more than 80 people attending.
Events during 2018
The WG Investigations was officially launched at a kick-off event on 7 June 2018, 17:30 in Zurich (Speaker: Dr. Claudia Fritsche; Topic: Conducting Internal Investigations in 2018 – Key Topics and Pitfalls). Claudia Fritsche’s introduction on internal investigations in 2018 provided the audience insights into key features, topics and pitfalls.
The second meeting of the Working Group was held at the Zurich offices of AlixPartners in September 2018: Carina Nilles demonstrated live how to leverage digital investigations for better results using cutting-edge investigations tools.
The third meeting took place in October 2018: Leo Hattenbach and Daniel S. Weber discussed how to conduct top-quality investigation interviews including skills, strategies and techniques. For 2019, the Working Group is preparing events in connection with crisis communication/management and investigation project management/governance. Also, we will interview a prosecutor to have insights on internal investigations in a criminal context.
These are the upcoming dates for our Annual General Meetings:
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Thursday, 24 March 2022
Zunfthaus zur Safran