The British Bankers’ Association (the BBA) has today published its guidance on compliance with the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act). The guidance – which can be downloaded here – is expressed to be “primarily intended to support banks in considering how to approach the establishment of adequate policies and procedures” in relation to the Act. However, much of the contents of the guidance is not specific to banks and will be of interest to all larger regulated firms and also to many companies outside the financial sector. The guidance is dividend into six chapters:
- The Act – an overview.
- Comparison between the Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- The Ministry of Justice’s “six Principles” on establishing the “adequate procedures” defence to the Act’s section 7 offence of failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery.
- BBA guidance: Principles 2 – 6. This is the substantive part of the guidance, setting out the BBA’s views on how the Principles can be addressed and implemented.
- Additional guidance – Gifts, corporate hospitality and promotional expenditure.
- Additional guidance – Incident management and reporting
The guidance points out that regulated firms such as banks also have, in addition to observing the Act, regulatory obligations under the Financial Services Authority’s rules and principles. Those FSA rules – which the guidance discusses at section 2.2 – require regulated firms to have in place adequate systems and controls to prevent both bribery and corruption. The guidance observes that:
“Unlike the Bribery Act, the FSA does not need to find evidence of corruption or bribery to take action. This is most clearly demonstrated by the July 2011 FSA regulatory action against a firm regarding breaches of Principle 3 of the FSA’s Principles for Businesses and Rule SYSC 3.2.6R of the FSA’s Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls Handbook.”
That July 2011 action by the FSA was the fining of Willis Limited, the insurance broker, £6,895,000 for failings in its anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls; see this post for more details of that action by the FSA.
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