Clients´ strategies must have compliance at heart – CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo

Compliance should be a central component of any organisations´ business strategy, according to CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo partner Patricia Liñán, who warns that proper internal processes are as much about protecting reputation as meeting legal requirements.

“When we talk about compliance it is not just an issue of following external legal rules but adopting internal ethical rules and standards,” she says. “There is, of course, the legal risk of non-compliance but companies need to be aware of the reputational risk to their public image of any wrongdoing, which can be very damaging to a business.”
Liñán points out that companies are taking compliance much more seriously because there has been a trend for authorities to not only go after individuals who may have breached the rules but also, increasingly, the company as a whole – or senior management at the top of an organisation – for failing to implement compliance procedures or prevent any wrongdoing.       
“There are a number of Spanish and international rules and regulations that can ultimately mean senior management are held responsible and action could be taken against them,” Liñán says. “This has given company executives much more of a sense of urgency when it comes to establishing internal compliance processes. The systems not only protect the company but can protect them from individual culpability.” Liñán believes the best option is for companies to adopt a global approach to compliance. They should implement programmes that attain the highest standards of corporate responsibility across all jurisdictions and markets, she adds. This is especially pertinent in anti-bribery measures because of the international nature of investigations, Liñán explains.