In a recent article published by QBE insurance group on the risks that law firms should look out for in 2019, our Director for Legal Services Pip Johnson shared her insights together with other compliance experts.
Pip flagged the Fifth Money Laundering Directive, which must be implemented into national regulations by this time next year. While the Fifth Directive is not as extensive as the Fourth Directive that came into force in 2017, there are still some changes to take on by the beginning of 2020. These changes include the regulation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, with some firms already having been asked to accept cryptocurrency payments. The Fifth Directive will also see enhanced due diligence requirements. Of course, Pip also discussed the effect Brexit could have on UK lawyers, with the UK due to implement its own Sanctions regime.
Other key takeaways from the interview:
EU Council Directive 2018/822, (DAC 6), that came into force last June requiring intermediaries involved in cross border tax transactions to retain details of potentially tax advantageous matters
An expected increase of comlaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for GDPR breaches
The upcoming reformed SRA Handbook and the new Accounts Rules
How Brexit could effect the UK’s laws and regulations and how they apply to UK law firms
We are now all-too familiar with stories of employees being sexually harassed or bullied at work and keeping quiet for several years in order to keep their job, or for fear of being shamed. Worryingly, the issue of being “silenced” is not unique to harassment alone. A study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission shows that around 11% of women have been fired, made redundant or treated so badly they were left with no choice but to leave as a result of being pregnant or giving birth. Over 20% said they had experienced harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working.
In her second installment in a series on whistleblowing, Director of U.S. Compliance Sandra Erez explores the extent to which whistleblowing methods have changed over the years. She also shares insights on how whistleblowing portals can be utilised to allow staff to easily and anonymously report suspicious or inappropriate behaviour.
Sandra takes a deep dive into the history books, starting with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis whereby the White House installed its very first hotline to “help reduce the risk of war occurring by accident or miscalculation”. The article reminds us of how whistleblowing methods have developed over time, including whistleblowing being included in legislation in the passing of the 2008 Dodd-Frank Act, further motivating employees to blow the whistle on suspected fraud and misconduct.
We are all leaders, mentors, influencers or decision-makers at some level and we are all responsible for managing the risks and opportunities that our organisations face. But how does the pace of change impact on our people and their willingness to own risk? How do we contribute to the development of a climate that encourages ownership and individual success? And how do we build a culture where people are empowered and can have the conversations that really make a difference.
Karla Gahan, Deputy Head of Risk and Advisory at VinciWorks, will be speaking at the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) annual conference on 28 March.
Market abuse refers to processes in which individuals and/or firms aim to decrease market integrity and reduce investor protections. An offence related to Market Abuse is Market Manipulation. In 2016, the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), which contains prohibitions on market manipulation and other market abuse offences, came into effect. You can find out about this in the introduction to VinciWorks’ Market Abuse Course.
28 January marks the 12th annual Data Protection Day, launched by the Council of Europe in 2006. The day marks the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, known as “Convention 108” was opened to signature. This was the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
Since the last Data Protection Day, the EU has made great strides in ensuring businesses respect and protect individuals’ personal data, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May. The US looks set to follow suit with the California Consumer Privacy Act, which has a lot of similarities to GDPR, coming into force in January 2020. Further, Google’s recent €50 million fine by France and cyber security breaches reportedly costing UK victims over £190,000 a day shows still have a long way to go to ensure businesses truly protect personal data.
While some organisations are slowly working towards complying with GDPR, others are proactively reviewing their policies, processes and training. To help with compliance, the VinciWorks GDPR resource page is regularly updated with policy templates, five minute knowledge checks and direct access to all our GDPR webinars.
The new Market Rules courses contain interactive scenario questions to test users’ understanding of the law
VinciWorks has released two new courses under the subject of Market Rules to help businesses train their staff and comply with complex competition law and market abuse rules. Coming against the backdrop of increasing enforcement action from the Competition and Markets Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, VinciWorks’ new Market Rules courses will cover UK competition law and the European Union’s Market Abuse Regulations.
Competition Law: Know Your Market
Competition Law: Know Your Market drops users into a set of immersive scenarios to test their knowledge, understanding, and ability to comply with UK competition law.
The course is broken into short modules that cover different aspects of UK competition law, including price-fixing, cartels and meetings with competitors. Each module contains simulations of real business dilemmas with key learning points related to the scenario.
The Fifth Money Laundering Directive has been passed. Here’s what you need to know
The Fourth Money Laundering Directive may have only recently been implemented into national law around the EU, but on 19 April 2018, the European Parliament announced it had adopted the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. On 19 June 2018 the final text was published. EU members will have 18 months to transpose the Fifth Directive into national law. However, some countries have already done so.
In a webinar on competition law, I interviewed the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) David Harper and Kwadjo Adjepong. During the interview, they covered price fixing, market sharing and cartels. You can download the full interview and webinar, together with useful competition law compliance resources, here.
Lack of knowledge on competition law
In a recent study conducted by the CMA, most businesses were unclear of the dangers of breaching competition law, with a third of businesses unaware that it is illegal to fix prices. Head of Investigations and Intelligence David Harper cited that a lot of companies are more concerned with money laundering regulation, with half of businesses not even knowing it was illegal to discuss prices with other businesses in their industry. While the vast majority of companies want to do the right thing, they find all the legislation difficult to work through. David sees a big part of the CMA’s role as supporting competition to allow businesses and consumers to benefit from competition law.
The Lawyer recently published an article highlighting some of the biggest City law firms’ lack of effort in combatting workplace harassment and bullying. In the article, these large firms are criticised for only doing the minimum, if that, to ensure workplace harassment does not go unnoticed and unidentified. When faced by The Lawyer with the question of how many people have been dismissed for inappropriate behaviour in the past year, many firms avoided answering the question.