France’s anticorruption agency issues guide for compliance programs
The French government is trying to be helpful. No, really. Last month, the French Anticorruption Agency published a practical guide for anticorruption compliance, following other country enforcers that have done the same thing. A client note from Jones Day says that in the guide, the Agency gives key guidance to company executives on how to structure, within their companies, an integrated and efficient anticorruption compliance function, and becomes the latest regulator to add to the growing international consensus on the requirements for an effective anticorruption compliance program. It’s said to be the first of six guides.
Specifically, the guide relates to the implementation of a robust anticorruption compliance program, as required by Law No. 2016-1691, dated December 9, 2016 (“Sapin II Law”). The law applies to all companies that have more than 500 employees, or are part of a group with more than 500 employees and whose parent company is headquartered in France; and have an annual revenue or consolidated annual revenue exceeding €100 million, or U.S. $113 million.
The guide emphasizes the importance and strategic nature of an anticorruption compliance program for companies. The governing body of each company should ensure that it has the means to identify and control the risks faced by the company, especially in a context of increased competition and more complex standards. As the guide recognizes, there is no single model for anticorruption compliance, and each company must have its own tailored internal policies.
The guide also says that appointing an internal compliance officer will show the commitment of a company’s governing body to preventing and detecting corruption. Compliance officers should be afforded easy access to the governing body to enable it to develop a true and fair view of the company’s activity. Moreover, the compliance officer, while part of the executive team, should be independent of other executives in the company.
The compliance officer’s brief isn’t just designing and managing a program, but should also monitor company practices and evolving standards, coordinate internal investigations and issue reports to the company’s board. The guide also recommends that the compliance officer be involved in most company initiatives, such as investing in new countries or markets, and bringing new products into the market.
Read the client note and the guide for more detail.