Template available in Omnitrack 

In a session on anticipated increased AML regulations at the Law Society’s recent Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Conference 2023, the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) representative made an announcement: The agency would be releasing a client and matter risk assessment template.

Anyone attending the conference could hear the sighs of relief from the participants, many of whom are in charge of compliance for their firms.

The template is now available and it could make a huge difference in how law firms manage their client and matter risk. 

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Presenters at this year’s Law Society conference think law firms need to be ready for increased regulation

In a law firm regulatory update at The Law Society’s Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Conference 2023, the presenters pointed out how regulation has increased in the past 15 years. They believe it is a trend that will continue and law firms should be prepared. 

The panel, which included representatives from a number of leading firms, were uniform in their belief that more regulations were coming down the pike.

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What does an ESG committee do?

Companies around the world are beginning to recognise the importance of having Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies in place. These policies not only benefit society and the planet but can also lead to financial benefits for companies. From reducing carbon emissions to promoting diversity and inclusion, ESG policies are becoming a key part of any company’s strategy.

What is an ESG policy?

An ESG policy documents how a company is addressing the three pillars of ESG – environmental, social, and governance. This formalised document outlines the company’s ESG commitments, guiding vision on ESG issues, how the business is involved in these issues, and how ESG activities are monitored and reported.

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In every sphere of life, we must make important decisions balancing different and often conflicting needs and interests. Conflicts of interest arise when an employee’s judgment can be affected due to a clash between personal or financial interests and professional duties.

Conflicts of interest in the legal profession can arise in a number of situations due to the complexities of the field. When two or more clients have conflicting interests, the duty to act in the best interests of each of our clients may mean that the firm’s responsibilities toward one client may conflict with its responsibilities toward another. A firm cannot reasonably represent both sides in a contractual dispute or advise both an investor and their potential investment.

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Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the US, UK and EU have imposed an unprecedented level of financial sanctions against Russia. The new sanctions block dealings with many Russian banks and restrict many types of business interactions.  Now, more than ever, it is important for businesses to keep track of sanctions and ensure their sanctions policy is up to date.

VinciWorks has created a free sanctions policy template that can easily be edited to suit your organisation, industry and staff, as well as remain relevant with all the current sanctions in place.

You can download the sanctions policy template for free by clicking on the button below.

Download sanctions policy template

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A big pile of gifts

Does your organisation have an up-to-date gifts and corporate hospitality policy in place? Are you able to easily register any gifts you receive or give? Having an up-to-date gifts and corporate hospitality policy in place will help you comply with your responsibilities under the Bribery Act and other anti-corruption legislation.

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What is a corporate gifts and hospitality policy?

A corporate gifts and hospitality policy sets out an organisation’s policy with regard to when and whether employees are allowed to accept gifts both within and outside of the work premises. In the case of a gift that an employee is allowed to receive, the policy sets parameters for the acceptable value and type of gift that is permissible to receive. The policy also defines under what circumstances an employee may receive a gift. 

What should be included in a gifts and corporate hospitality policy?

The purpose of such a policy is to ensure that your organisation and its employees comply with the anti-bribery and corruption policy, bribery laws and best practice in combating corruption in all of the countries and business areas in which you operate. The policy should complement your organisation’s bribery and corruption policy. Here is some guidance on what the policy should include.

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Man in handcuffs holding money

In 2020, Airbus paid a record £3bn in fines for ‘endemic’ corruption. This settlement surpassed the previous UK record for a corporate fine for bribery, which was the £671m paid by Rolls-Royce, Britain’s luxury car manufacturer, in 2017. 

Despite the UK Bribery Act having come into force in 2010, bribery is still a hugely problematic issue in corporate life. Billions of pounds of fines are levied every year and frequent reports hit the headlines of investigations and prosecutions from the US Department of Justice and UK Serious Fraud Office.

Companies should have strict policies in place to ensure all employees understand the steps they need to take to ensure their company cannot be found liable of bribery or corruption. The policy should apply strictly to all employees, partners, agents, consultants, contractors and any other people or bodies associated with the organisation. VinciWorks has therefore created an anti-bribery and corruption policy that can easily be edited to suite your organisation’s staff and industry.
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What is considered inside information?

All non-public precise information relating to your company, which, if made public, would be likely to have a significant effect on the price of financial instruments relating to your company is considered to be inside information. The existence of inside information must always be reported as soon as possible to the Inside Information Committee (IIC) by any person that suspects that certain information may constitute inside information.

No inside information may be publicly disclosed by other means than official press releases in accordance with the rules. Disclosing inside information by means of sharing such information with other people, such as but not limited to: journalists, analysts, shareholders, employees or other similar persons is strictly prohibited and can constitute a crime. Inside information can only be shared with persons who need access to such information in order to fulfil their professional duties, and as long as they are bound by a duty of confidentiality and are included in the relevant insider list.

Insider trading and inside information policy

All inside information must be handled with care and strict confidentiality in order to avoid a breach. Any employee who suspects a violation of your organisation’s policy must speak up and raise the issue to their immediate manager, or follow the company’s whistleblowing procedures. VinciWorks’ insider trading and inside information policy template can easily be edited to include your business’ reporting procedures and relevant contact information.

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Businesses have a responsibility and a legal obligation to follow competition law and ensure staff have the knowledge and understanding to do that. Companies should regularly update such policies. Staff should be made aware that failure to adhere to their company’s competition law policy could result in large fines and criminal charges against individual employees and the company.

VinciWorks has created a competition law policy template that is fully compliant with the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002.

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What should be included in a competition law policy?

Employee obligations with regards to competition law

Employees must report any activity, transaction or dealing which they suspect may infringe upon competition law to the relevant reporting officer. They must also report all contact with competitors where there was any discussion of contracts, competitors, suppliers, sub-contractors or other relevant external bodies to the reporting officer. Full minutes should be recorded of any trade association meetings that are attended by representatives of your organisation.

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Download the New York sexual harassment whistleblowing policy template

When it comes to any potential foul play at work, it is important that employees understand when they should share their concerns, who they should share them with and how to do so. In order to ensure all your staff feel comfortable raising any concerns they have regarding whether staff or clients are involved or assisting in sexual harassment, we have created a detailed whistleblowing policy template. The template can easily be edited to include relevant contact information, the company name and any company-specific procedures. The template is fully compliant with the New York State and City sexual harassment regulations.

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