Compliance with Competition Law and the Bribery Act - An Integrated Approach
On 29 November, Smith & Williamson's Forensic and Competition Services teams hosted a seminar "Compliance with competition law and the Bribery Act - an integrated approach" with guest speakers, Steven Preece, Deputy Director of Competition Policy for the Office of Fair Trading, and Anne Riley, Associate General Counsel Antitrust for Shell International.
The last six months have seen the publication of key guidelines on competition law and Bribery Act compliance. In June 2011 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published new guidance for businesses on competition law compliance. The OFT believes that directors are key to competition law compliance.
On 1 July 2011, the UK Bribery Act came into force. Section 7 of the Act makes it an offence for companies to fail to prevent bribery and carries the penalty of unlimited fines to the company itself, and potentially a personal liability to directors who allowed it to happen. The Ministry of Justice issued guidance on how to implement "adequate procedures" in combating bribery in commercial organisations.
On 24 November 2011, the European Commission issued its guidance on how to comply with competition law offering companies a “competition highway code.”
There are striking similarities between the three guidance publications on how to comply with the respective legislation. In fact compliance matters.
Steven shared the OFT's views on competition law compliance and how it can sit comfortably with other key items on a company's compliance agenda. Anne talked about the benefits of competition compliance to business. David Alexander, Head of Smith & Williamson's Fraud and Financial Investigations, discussed compliance with the Bribery Act and how to design and implement effective and adequate anti-bribery procedures.
The seminar was well received. If you would like to receive further information on competition and UK Bribery Act compliance, please click here.