Your antitrust toolkit for building a strong compliance programme
Antitrust legislation is there to protect consumers from unfair business practices by ensuring competition exists in the market. A full compliance programme is therefore important to keep the trust of your customers, and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has produced a toolkit to help your firm meet all requirements.
We outline the foundation elements of a successful programme below.
Recognise the need for full antitrust compliance
Your firm needs to understand the extent of the risk faced by its activities and objectives, and that antitrust compliance is a need for businesses of all sizes. With a full appreciation, you can then adopt a standard for employees to follow, and one that effectively mitigates the most significant dangers. For this to be a success, buy-in is needed from all levels of the company, meaning senior managers must lead by example.
Organise the necessary resources
To firmly establish a full compliance programme that succeeds in the long-term, you’ll need to nominate individuals within the organisation to oversee activities. This could include what the ICC calls “subject matter experts”, such as antitrust lawyers who can help to establish policies. Those chosen should report to all levels of management, and if your firm operates in multiple countries, allocate someone for each location as regulations may differ across borders.
Decide how to identify antitrust risks
With a commitment from all levels of the firm and the required resources organised, you now need to consider how to most effectively highlight the risks faced. This can start with an audit of current controls and processes, and would ideally tie in with your general risk management approach. An example would be a look into your current training focus, and whether this is truly relevant to the market and your business’s position in it. For example, you may not operate internationally, but are staff adequately informed about how new European legislation on competition impacts the company?
Continue to share compliance knowledge
With antitrust risks outlined, the next stage is to determine what training is needed to inform new employees of your approach and keep all fully aware of what is expected from them. Organise training at regular intervals to keep the subject firmly in mind, and to empower staff to act confidently with the knowledge of what is permitted.
Compliance is one area of the business you don’t have full control over, as new laws mean a change to your practices may be necessary. By setting a company culture that proactively seeks to remain fully compliant, any changes will be simpler to implement, meaning less disruption to your day-to-day tasks.
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