Compliance 360, beyond the criminal law
Julio Menchaca Vite, Corporate Compliance Lawyer. AGM Abogados
Corporate Compliance is the set of proceedings established by the companies or organizations in order to detect, manage and mitigate the risks from possible breaches of internal and external regulations.
If we had pronounced the word Compliance in Spain a few years ago, only a few would have known what we were talking about. Instead, nowadays it is a well-known term in the legal and business sector. It was since 2010, when one of the legal reforms in the Spanish Criminal Code introduced the criminal liability of the legal persons, which led to the necessity of having crime prevention programs, that this concept began to have presence in the business reality.
However, the compliance is not limited to the criminal law field; it is much more than that. The criminal area is important, yes, but it is only one of its dimensions, one piece of the puzzle. This is easy to understand if we keep in mind that in Spain there are more than one hundred thousand laws and rules of all matters in force. A regulatory mountain (European, national, sectorial, etc) overwhelms the businessmen and it is hard to know where to begin.
Matters such as the dynamism of the business relations or the development of the technology have led to the appearance of data protection and e-commerce regulations. The criminal policy has resulted in the creation of the Law on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The business growth has made necessary the development of good governance internal policies. The Spanish Corporations Law has been modified to increase the responsibility of managers and members of the board of directors. The globalization of business has made essential to send workers abroad, with the need of asking for visas or permits and to review its tax implications. To the regulatory changes just mentioned, we have to add the more known legal topics, such as the labor relations, the tax compliance and the day-to-day corporate paperwork.
Therefore, to talk about compliance we must keep in mind all aspects of it and to have a 360° vision. Only by doing this it is possible to talk about a compliance that really works for the companies. The compliance must not be seen as a cost or an obstacle to the business development, but start to be considered as a way to settle best practices which can bring the company in a worldwide competition level, and to take care of the reputation that is so hard to obtain (it was Warren Buffet who said: it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it).
The task can be seen as huge, so big that many businessmen chose to think that if until now they haven’t had any problems, there may not be any in the future, or even worst, consider doing nothing as a synonym of complying. Without any doubts, both postures are a big mistake from a good corporate governance point of view.
To satisfy the demand of all Corporate Compliance matters, AGM Abogados has developed the Corporate Compliance area, as a comprehensive service to deal with all the compliance challenges of the companies, which includes all legal branches to give customized solutions based on the sector and specific characteristics of the company.
Do not hesitate to contact us in order to make sure that you comply with all the necessary regulation.