New York, N.Y. 10150
(888) 70IPSIG (Toll free)
September 18, 1997
Corporations and governments are under growing pressure to correct illegal and unethical corporate conduct and to take positive steps to prevent and detect wrongdoing. Corporate oversight, both self-driven and government-mandated, is a focus of daily attention. Corporations are hiring independent investigators to conduct internal inquiries of alleged wrongdoing. Governments are requiring that contractors hire independent monitors to guard against corruption and misuse of public funds.
Increasingly, the public and private sectors are turning to firms like yours that offer IPSIG-type services.
What is an IPSIG?
An Independent Private Sector Inspector General (IPSIG) is an independent, private sector firm with legal, auditing, investigative, management and loss prevention skills. Corporations and government agencies retain IPSIGs — and courts appoint them — because of their stellar reputation for autonomy. IPSIGs are employed by an organization (voluntarily or by mandate) to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and to deter, prevent, uncover and report unethical and illegal conduct by, within and against the organization.
What Is IAIPSIG?
The credo of the International Association of Independent Private Sector Inspectors General (IAIPSIG), a newly created professional association, is: “Good ethics are good business.” The mission of the IAIPSIG is to ensure that independent corporate oversight and internal corporate investigations are governed by the principles of integrity, honesty, impartiality and professionalism. IAIPSIG is a forum for firms that conduct independent corporate investigations and furnish IPSIG-type services.
Independent Investigation with Unquestioned Integrity
An IPSIG is distinguished by its independence and unquestioned integrity. An IPSIG must report any unethical and illegal conduct it uncovers both to the organization and, independently of the organization, to a reporting entity (which may or may not be an agency of the government). This autonomy helps guarantee the integrity of monitoring and investigating procedures.
IPSIGs offer a means of institutionalizing ethics as a result of market demand as well as government fiat. IPSIGs also offer companies strategic marketing advantages. Besides prevention and detection of internal corporate misconduct, they provide the additional benefit of looking into misconduct against the organization by outside market forces. An IPSIG, for example, can help vet third party vendors and see that purchasing agents are engaging in legitimate transactions with proper bidding, free of kickbacks. An IPSIG can provide a systematic, rather than ad hoc, response to conduct harmful to the corporation both from within and without.
Gaining Professional Recognition for IPSIGs
IPSIG?type services are gaining widespread acceptance: However, as with any emerging industry, market recognition and trust can only be cultivated through the establishment and promotion of professional standards. This was the concept behind the creation of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) more than a century ago; that’s the idea behind IAIPSIG. Founded in 1994, IAIPSIG consists primarily of law firms, investigative firms, and accounting firms, that currently provide a full array of services as IPSIGs.
A strict code of ethics governs the work of IAIPSIG members. This is designed to guard against conflicts of interest and other integrity lapses that might interfere with a genuinely independent investigation. Further, IPSIGs must report their findings not only to the company but simultaneously to an independent entity, such as a government agency or special committee of outside directors.
Such guarantees of impartiality are crucial to building the reputation of professional IPSIG services. There has been much recent media speculation about the impartiality of privately hired investigators and independent counsel. Are the investigators who are assigned to uncover corporate fraud actually doing fact-finding missions or damage control for the corporations that are paying their fees- One of the chief goals of IAIPSIG membership is to put to rest any concerns about objectivity.
IAIPSIG will heighten public awareness of the valuable financial benefits and protections that flow from employing those who provide IPSIG services.
Join IAIPSIG’s Ranks
We are asking you to join IAIPSIG’s ranks so we can build a solid foundation for this emerging profession. Enclosed with this letter you will find a membership application and a copy of IAIPSIG’s code of ethics. With more members we will be able to influence policy-making in both the public and private sector. We will also be able to establish for our members a public voice in the discussion of business ethics and corporate oversight. A strong IAIPSIG will give our industry needed weight in responding to critics and opponents of monitored projects.
In short, a respected association of private inspectors general is crucial to establishing broad-based market recognition and acceptance of our professional services.
I encourage you to complete the enclosed application form and return it to IAIPSIG.