What is compliance?
Generally speaking, compliance is the deployment of preventive procedures that allow companies to avoid exposing themselves to risks related to non-compliance with regulations. The implementation of a compliance policy allows the company to better manage risks and avoid exposure to financial and reputational risks.
Breaches of competition law may be intentional, but companies may also disregard the rules out of simple ignorance.
The implementation of compliance relies not only on measures to create:
- a culture of compliance (training, awareness on the part of managers and all staff)
- internal warning, advice, audit and accountability mechanisms, which are essential for creating the correct reflexes within companies (detection and treatment of possible breaches).
One of the features of compliance in competition law is that it concerns all personnel within the company
Nowadays, an infringement of competition rules can result from "classic" forms of agreement (customer allocation, price agreements, exchanges of information, etc.), but also from more sophisticated processes involving certain algorithms, for example. It is therefore important that the company has specifically reflected on its activity in advance, so it can introduce an appropriate prevention and control policy.
While in some areas, compliance is the responsibility of a few specialists, or applies to certain units in particular, the dissemination of a competition culture must involve all levels of the company, from the management bodies to the legal executives, and including the technical, commercial and IT functions.
Have you thought about the competition component?
Compliance is a real ethical commitment
Compliance is often part of a more global approach on the part of companies wanting to conduct their business in an ethical and responsible manner.
More and more companies are committing to this global approach and seeking ethical consistency, with regard to both their employees and their customers. Compliance can even become an argument for competitiveness or differentiation. On the other hand, not respecting the rules can have a significant reputational cost (a company that is fined may suffer the consequences of a tarnished image among its customers, employees or the general public).