SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- The Red Flag Group, a leading Compliance Advisory, Due Diligence & Technology firm, announced today the publication of a guide to help companies make sure they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery from taking place.
The newly-published thought leadership article, entitled "Adequate Procedures in Anti-Bribery Compliance", will guide companies seeking to build and maintain compliance programmes designed to prevent bribery from taking place. It includes advice on how to deal with a range of issues from gift giving and receiving, hospitality and entertainment, customer travel, political and charitable donations, through to facilitation payments, distributor and reseller commissions, and channel and customer rebates. It also offers guidance on the softer elements of establishing adequate anti-bribery procedures, such as the use of approval and workflow technology, effecting behavioural change by staff and third parties and establishing a culture of compliance, as well as monitoring, measuring, reporting and documenting a company's anti-corruption procedures. Finally, the article includes real life examples, FAQs, charts, and tips to help companies make sure their compliance programmes have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery from taking place.
"Having adequate procedures in place is especially important for US companies because of the UK Bribery Act coming into force next year," said Scott Lane, CEO of The Red Flag Group. "This is because companies are either unaware of the new UK act, or are not prepared to comply with its provisions -- which are not only more strict than those of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) but also affect US companies through its extra-territorial provisions."
The UK Bribery Act applies not only to companies in the UK, but any corporate or partnership regardless of where it is registered, incorporated or conducts its main activities. As long as the company carries on business, of part of its business, in the UK then it can be caught by the act's "failure to implement" offense -- even if the activity in question was not carried out in the UK. "The UK Bribery Act's extraterritorial provisions are broader than those of the FCPA, and US companies complying with their home country's anti-corruption legislation will find that this is no longer good enough," Mr Lane said.
"The UK Bribery Act is also significantly broader than the FCPA in the sense that it puts stricter scrutiny on the range of behaviours permissible, and well as possess enhanced criminal penalties. For example, while the FCPA focuses on bribery solely against foreign officials, the UK act covers both bribery of both public officials and private corporations. Furthermore, criminal offenses under the FCPA carry jail sentences of up to five years, whilst the UK Bribery Act permits jail sentences of up to 10 years. Criminal convictions under the Bribery Act also risk debarment from procurement contracts in the European Union," he said.
Andrew Henderson, vice-president of corporate strategy & development The Red Flag Group, said: "Having a successful anti-bribery compliance programme is about ensuring that your policies, procedures and tools are adequate to meet your risks. The key to any programme is the risk assessment. Too often, companies draft procedures which look good on paper, but fail to reflect the reality on the ground. They often fail to consider the softer elements -- such as how to effect behavioural change or to establish a culture of compliance to support these procedures, and therefore they fail to catch the illicit activities they were designed to prevent in the first place.
"This 'failure to implement' offence has caused significant debate, as no one knows precisely what constitutes an adequate procedure. The UK government has pledged to provide guidance, and is currently undertaking a public consultation to draft guidelines. However companies hoping for a detailed and prescriptive set of actions and controls are likely to be disappointed. The current draft -- and presumably the final version -- is principles-based and relies heavily on risk assessments to determine what will be adequate for each company," he said.
"The good news is that under this approach companies which have completed their risk assessments and found that they either have very little risk, or that they are adequately managing their risk, need not take further action. At The Red Flag Group, it will be our focus to help companies through this stage, either through industry bodies or directly, in the run up to the UK Bribery Act's commencement," Mr Henderson said.
"With our offices in London, San Francisco, Sydney, and Hong Kong plus our established track in providing tailored advisory, due diligence, and technology compliance solutions, The Red Flag Group is uniquely positioned to help companies from around the world make sure they can stay on the right side of the new UK anti-corruption law. We can help them make compliance their competitive edge," said Mr Lane.
To download a copy of the whitepaper, click here (http://www.redflaggroup.com/knowledge-centre-thought-leadership- inner.php?id=14&pg_num= ).
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About The Red Flag Group
The Red Flag Group is one of the world's leading independent corporate governance and compliance firms providing thought leadership around compliance to Fortune 1000 companies. Their main goals include helping companies develop and maintain efficient and effective governance and compliance programs in emerging markets, as well as providing professional due diligence services to companies around the world. The firm consists of ex in-house counsel and compliance officers and have offices in the US, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, London and Dubai. For more information, go to http://www.redflaggroup.com
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SOURCE The Red Flag Group