13/09/2017

Afternoon Compliance Seminar – Are you compliant?

We are proud to announce our keynote speaker  Mr Dominique Dussard. Mr Dussard has over 25 years of international experience with governance, compliance and behavioural and risk management, serving as Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer of global chemical company Solvay.

Mr Dussard is the founder and Managing Partner of GLC Consulting, where he supports organisations and their leaders in implementing their strategy. He focuses on behavioural change, ‘top to the middle’ leadership engagement, and advises senior executives and boards. Mr Dussard also acts as the current chairman of the Belgian chapter of Transparency International.

Mr Dussard will speak about the opportunities of ethics and compliance for your organisation.

Regulatory compliance and business ethics are increasingly becoming a focal point for politicians, regulatory authorities, customers and other stakeholders. It is therefore essential to know what regulatory and legislative obligations and standards apply to your organisation. Managing the risks associated with (non-)compliance and taking action to avoid infringements are key elements for any business’s compliance policy.

How to ensure compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018? Is your business at risk of infringing competition laws? How to deal with the globalisation of anti-corruption laws? How to screen your transactions (and business partners) in light of export control and sanctions regulations? These and many other compliance topics will be treated at Loyens & Loeff Brussels’ first-ever Compliance Seminar, during which our experts will guide you through the hot topics of the compliance landscape.

Programme:

12.15 pm    Registration and sandwich lunch

1:00 pm      Welcome

1:05 pm      Keynote speaker: Dominique Dussard (Bio)

Ethics and Compliance: an opportunityDominique Dussard (Founder and Managing Partner of GLC Consulting)

Anti-Corruption Compliance – How do businesses mitigate risk and protect their reputation? – Bert Gevers and Mathieu Maes (Bio)

Together with trade, anti-corruption enforcement has also become global given the extra-territorial reach of US (FCPA), UK (Bribery Act) and recently also French (Sapin II) anti-corruption laws. Almost on a daily basis, the global economic press announces new corruption investigations whereby the names of large multinationals as well as those of influential but less well-known smaller enterprises and individuals are often associated with the violation of anti-corruption laws. While most regulators expect from businesses an integrated approach to manage corruption risk and other compliance risks such as antitrust and trade compliance, it remains a challenge for the Board of Directors to define the company’s desired risk profile and to specify the risks that the company is willing to accept in pursuit of its goals. Businesses should therefore carefully question how these laws may be applied to their conduct and, if so, what course of action they should take to protect themselves from liability. By defining a company’s risk profile, the Board of Directors outlines the limits of the company’s risk appetite – establishing the rules and procedures for evaluating whether any particular industrial, commercial, or financial project (such as moving into a new country, embarking on a new product line, or using new financial instruments) involves acceptable or unacceptable risks. If not already in place, the Board of Directors may consider creating a separate Risk Committee to cover the implementation of the company’s risk policy.

Bert Gevers and Mathieu Maes (Secretary General ICC Belgium and (co-)author of the Anti-corruption Guide for Belgian Enterprises Overseas) will discuss the Belgian legal framework and how a company can handle these risks taken into account their individual circumstances (including size, type, legal structure and geographical and industrial sector of operation).

GDPR Compliance: Are you ready for the data protection monster? – Stéphanie De Smedt

After years of anticipation, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) was finally adopted in April 2016 and is set to apply as from 25 May 2018.

This means that businesses operating in the EU until then have to make sure they are “GDPR compliant”. All industry sectors will be directly affected by the new data processing obligations and restrictions introduced by the GDPR, whether they are processing employee data for HR purposes, client data for administration and marketing purposes, using surveillance cameras or biometrics, doing market research, etc.

The GDPR reinforces basic data protection principles, strengthens data subjects’ rights, and is designed around the basic concept of ‘accountability’: companies have to be able to demonstrate that they are effectively compliant.

As from May 2018, the national data protection authorities will become watchdogs with real teeth, being able to carry out audits and investigations, to order companies to disclose certain information or to restrict or cease the processing of personal data. In addition, and the main reason why “GDPR compliance” is now one of the priorities of legal counsel and compliance officers, administrative fines of up to 20,000,000 EUR or 4% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover (whichever is the highest) will apply in case of non-compliance with the GDPR.

In short: It is about time to start working on “GDPR-compliance” and to be ready for when the data protection monster bites!

Tax Compliance – How to deal with the many new transparency measures?Natalie Reypens

In their fight against aggressive tax planning, the OECD and the EU have developed various actions plans. Measures are taken to increase substance in activities and transactions, create coherence between different tax jurisdictions’ tax regimes and advance transparency.

New transfer pricing documentation requirements have been suggested by the OECD, enforced by the EU, and implemented in many countries. This three tier documentation requirement has changed the administrative burden for Belgian multinational enterprises drastically. In the Country-by-Country Report, multinational groups have to present the worldwide allocation of income, profits, tax and substance. This report will be exchanged between tax authorities over the globe. The EU is even suggesting a public Country-by-Country Report, to be published on the multinational’s website.

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), like FATCA which applies only to the US, calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions

Another transparency measure is the UBO register in which the ultimate beneficiaries of companies and other legal entities need to be identified. The UBO register is accessible to competent authorities, but also to

all persons and organisations that can demonstrate a legitimate interest.

No surprise that all these measures will open many discussions with tax authorities and have an impact on the public perception of multinationals. You better be prepared. Or, to put it with Richard Branson’s words : if you are going to be naked, you better look good.

Whistleblowing – Is there an Edward Snowden in your organisation?Marga Caproni

Quite often your employees are best placed to report non-compliance issues which may occur within your organisation. The implementation of a whistleblowing scheme may help to bring such issues to light.

Are you by law required to adopt such a scheme? Which are the rules of play ? Does the whistle blower enjoy a special protection? Can you take action against false reports? How do you draft a whistleblowing policy?

Everything you always wanted to know about whistleblowing but were afraid to ask, brought to you in a practical twenty-minute presentation.

Competition Law Compliance – How to create a competition compliance culture? – Thomas Verstraeten and Baptist Vleeshouwers

Compliance with competition law is and remains a hot topic. It is enforced through very high corporate sanctions (up to 10% of the group turnover) and, in certain EU Member States, including Belgium, also through personal sanctions for responsible directors. In addition, after the high fine by the regulator, often follows private damages litigation with substantial claims.

When the sanctions and negative consequences are this high, it is key to prevent rather than to cure. Prevention will only work when it is deeply embedded in the company culture. The question is, how to do this?

It is important, first, to diagnose.  What are the most important risks for your organisation? Which personnel and behaviour should be particularly targeted in your organisation? Are there currently any red flag issues? Have infringements been committed (knowingly or unknowingly) in the past?

The next step is to provide guidance and training adapted to the needs of your organisation and personnel. A commitment to compliance from the top of the organisation is essential, including the commitment to provide necessary budgets, specialised personnel (e.g. legal manager or compliance manager) and processes (e.g. helpdesk), depending on the needs and specificities of your company.

The final step, which closes the circle, is compliance monitoring, evaluation and repetition. The effectiveness of the commitment to compliance should be evaluated. Key personnel should be made responsible for compliance and processes and guidance should be adapted where necessary.

Export Control & Economic Sanctions Compliance – What are the risks and how to build an efficient trade control compliance programme?Bert Gevers and Jochen Vankerckhoven

Recent international developments have broad implications for Belgian businesses involved in the international trade of goods and services. Economic sanctions and export control regulations are posing a whole range of new compliance challenges for these businesses. This presentation aims at pinpointing important developments and showing the practical consequences for day-to-day business in the field of economic sanctions and export controls. The focus will be, inter alia, on the following topics:

Doing business with countries subject to sanctions and embargoes: how to screen the transaction?

Trading in dual use goods & services: what to expect from the recast of the EU Dual-use Regulation?

The effects of the extra-territorial reach of US trade controls for EU businesses;

The challenges posed by increasingly multi-facetted compliance requirements.

Corporate Compliance – Mind the gap: between actual practice and legal requirementsGodfried Ampe

4:45 pm      Reception / networking event