When does 'thank you' become illegal? - Business Works
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When does 'thank you' become illegal?

P lanned for April, but once again deferred until later in the year (at least until October 2011), The Bribery Act 2010 will come into force - preceded by some promised government guidance on practical procedures to prevent bribery. So much for cutting red tape!

The classic brown envelope

Rest assured, there are plenty of scare stories to come, but we already have the USA's Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts and our own Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering laws which might well be applied to similar deeds. This time, things are actually being spelt out which suggests someone is getting serious.

Most of us don't have to worry too much about the bribery of a foreign public official but this still leaves us with three other crimes: bribery; receiving a bribe; and failing to prevent bribery. That seems to cover all the bases and, for the slower ones amongst us, bribery is now, officially, wrong.

One concern, as usual, is the insurance industry. For years, brokers have been receiving higher commissions and a profit share to reflect a larger insurer account. The Act says the test for bribery is "improper performance" - how does this stand with the supposed independence of brokers and the FSA requirement to "Treat Customers Fairly"? Things could get interesting.

More importantly, what about the day out at the football or cricket? Corporate hospitality can be bribery if it is "disproportionate or lavish". This will, obviously, be open to interpretation, so no real concerns if you get an invite to Upton Park - just be careful if Old Trafford or The Emirates is mentioned. To be on the safe side, it might be a good idea to self-report the pens, diaries and calendars received at Christmas - who knows?

Two of the key principles in Bribery prevention are a Risk Assessment of your market sector and Due Diligence of business partners and the supply chain. We have prepared some guidelines - just e-mail for a copy. On top of this we would strongly recommend a review of D&O covers to ensure defence costs are covered just in case.

For further information contact Danny Cooper:
t: +44 (0)1795 890 804
e: info@theinsurancemanager.co.uk
w: theinsurancemanager.co.uk

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