Hassan Qaqaya

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Hassan Qaqaya

  1. 1. Prevention and Compliance: what an undertaking can do? Global experience 31 October, 2013 ,Riga Hassan Qaqaya, Head United Nations Competition and Consumer Policies, UNCTAD
  2. 2. Content 1. 2. 3. 4. Introduction Common features of a compliance program Trends in selected jurisdictions Compliance and International cooperation: the UN Set of Principles on Competition Policy 5. Compliance programs in UNCTAD capacity building activities.
  3. 3. Introduction  Competition rules and their application in practice by competition authorities are often difficult to understand and predict. This leaves companies with many unclear aspects when running their daily business. Competition rules are designed should ensure not only that authorities and judges are able to apply them correctly and consistently, but also that companies are able to self assess where they stand and take the necessary measures to ensure compliance.  Preventing anti-competitive practices is far more efficient than investigating and sanctioning violations after they occur; however, breaches still happen, but as a whole the balance will be positive.  Public authorities are in the ideal position to encourage and facilitate the exchange of best practices on compliance among businesses. They should also make additional efforts to give directions to companies willing to implement compliance programs.
  4. 4. Common features of a compliance program 1. Endorsement by and commitment of senior management : • There must be a strong and clear policy statement by top management that competition compliance is a core part of the corporate culture and that the company’s management expects employees to comply with competition rules. Corporate commitment is a fundamental precondition for effectively instilling a culture of compliance within a business. This will in most cases be reflected in the company’s standards of business conduct, or any similar internal code in an SME, and must send a clear and unambiguous message from the management to the employees
  5. 5. Common features of a compliance program 2. Proper policy and procedures: • Every company, big or small, to different degrees has policies and procedures that govern its internal functioning, including key control checklists to ensure that risks of any nature are readily identified, prevented, remedied or mitigated. These procedures and key controls should be tailored to accommodate the demands of a robust anti-trust compliance program. In an SME context, this could, for example, mean introducing the employees’ duty to seek preliminary legal advice in case of any doubt of non-compliance. Everyone concerned should know whom to contact.
  6. 6. Common features of a compliance program 3. Identification of responsibilities: • Senior management is responsible for instilling a culture of compliance and integrity. A member of the staff should be appointed as responsible for the compliance program. This is likely in most cases to be a senior member of the legal team and will report to the board. An SME could either assign this role to its in-house counsel or outsource this function to its external legal adviser.
  7. 7. Common features of a compliance program 4. Adequate resources: • A robust compliance program needs to be adequately resourced. Compliance efforts should focus first and foremost on those aspects of competition law where the company is most exposed. Whether a group of companies is decentralised or strictly governed from the centre, there will be a need for some structure capable of ensuring that risks are identified and dealt with, and that training and advice are provided. An SME is likely to need a much less complex program than a large corporation, and the resources should of course be proportionate to that specific program
  8. 8. Common features of a compliance program 5. Specific training: • Ideally all employees ought to be exposed to a general training session, notably as part of their introduction when joining the organisation. Targeted sessions will also be needed on the issues that certain categories of employees are most likely to be confronted with. The legal team should undergo specific training enabling it to counsel colleagues on the details of competition law. In case of SMEs, it will be sufficient to ensure that employees regularly receive simple, clear and up-to-date information on the major and most common antitrust issues they might be confronted with in their daily activity and an obligation to consult the in-house counsel in case of doubt.
  9. 9. Common features of a compliance program 6. Effective control: • any compliance action will need to be followed-up by an effective control from the management. However, ideally the compliance action should instill in each employee the consciousness that respecting the rules is in the interest of all the staff in the first place. Therefore, a certain degree of self-control is desirable to achieve really effective compliance.
  10. 10. Common features of a compliance program 7. Sanctions and rewards: • The code of conduct of the company must make it absolutely clear that violation of any law, including competition law, will not be tolerated and will lead to disciplinary action, including termination of employment as appropriate. At the same time, initiatives and proposals by the staff that improve compliance should be visibly rewarded, as they contribute to the compliance culture and promote discipline.
  11. 11. Common features of a compliance program 8. Regular evaluation and evolution: • It is important to monitor and improve the functioning of program, notably by regularly testing the level of competition law knowledge of employees, or by collecting the experience of the various business units throughout a region and encouraging comments and reports on the workings of the program
  12. 12. Trends in selected jurisdictions  Authorities in a number of key antitrust jurisdictions provide guidance - often very detailed - on how companies can drive antitrust compliance. Several authorities go even • further, providing a 'template' or framework for antitrust compliance program - see for example Australia (which provides four differentiated templates), Canada, Japan as well as efforts undertaken in the Netherlands).
  13. 13. Trends in selected jurisdictions  The genuine commitment of certain authorities to compliance efforts is reflected by a willingness to 'endorse' or 'certify' a particular program meeting (stringent) criteria (Brazil, Korea). • Many countries specifically recognize that compliance guidance will differ according to size/sophistication/risk profile of the company. In particular, Canada provides guidance tailored to SMEs (and the detailed UK guidance acknowledges that SMEs face different issues).
  14. 14. Trends in selected jurisdictions  Some antitrust authorities spend significant effort and resources in engaging in advocacy and outreach to change societal and business norms to accept and expect a culture of compliance (Brazil). • The significant role of an effective compliance program is reflected by the fact that, in a number of jurisdictions, companies may be required to give an undertaking (at the enforcement stage) to implement a compliance program (Canada, South Africa).
  15. 15. Trends in selected jurisdictions  Certain antitrust authorities have devoted significant resources to understanding which factors drive compliance (and non-compliance) with antitrust law: the ACCC in Australia refers to a three phase evolution it has observed over time -and the fact that a company rarely reverts to non-compliance once it has progressed to the third phase.  Detailed UK guidance (for both companies and individuals) follows a major review of compliance literature and company/adviser attitudes - reflecting a philosophical commitment to driving compliance through avoidance as well through high fines etc
  16. 16. Trends in selected jurisdictions    In Japan, the Fair Trade Institute (an affiliate of the JFTC) helps companies establish and implement compliance programs and has also established a sample compliance program; in Australia, compliance is regarded as an "important component of the ACCC's integrated suite of compliance tools“ In France, the “Autorite” describes compliance as an "asset" for antitrust authorities.
  17. 17. Compliance and International cooperation • THE UNITED NATIONS SET OF PRINCIPLES AND RULES ON COMPETITION • D. Principles and Rules for enterprises, including transnational corporations • 1. Enterprises should conform to the restrictive business practices laws, and the provisions concerning restrictive business practices in other laws, of the countries in which they operate, and, in the event of proceedings under these laws, should be subject to the competence of the courts and relevant administrative bodies therein. • 2. Enterprises should consult and co-operate with competent authorities of countries directly affected in controlling restrictive business practices adversely affecting the interests of those countries. ….
  18. 18. Concluding remarks • Enforcement and compliance programmes are part of a portfolio of tools which competition agencies can use flexibly; • Enforcement and compliance are a process and require permanent attention and resources. • CA therefore need to set priorities and use resources sparingly to meet objectives effectively and limit the cost of complaince to business. • Both enforcement and compliance require indepenedence, accountability, fairness and transparence in the application of the competition law.
  19. 19. Thank you for your kind attention

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