This post was also written by Emma Osborne.
The UK Bribery Act 2010 has increased the focus placed on anti-bribery and anti-corruption not only by the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) but also by the Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’). Anti-bribery issues fall within the FSA’s statutory objective to reduce financial crime and bribery continues to be a strategic priority for the FSA. The FSA has imposed fines on two insurance brokers, Aon and Willis, in relation to weaknesses in their anti-bribery systems and controls. Many will be quick to point out that the FSA has an easier time than the SFO. Its role is one of prevention, not prosecution. It does not need to prove that bribes have actually been paid, merely that the firm’s systems and controls did not properly mitigate the risk of bribes being paid.
So far, the FSA’s enforcement action relating to anti-bribery issues has concerned the insurance industry although both the Aon and Willis cases are instructive about the types of issues that the FSA is concerned about. However, in June 2011, the FSA announced its intention to carry out a thematic investigation of the policies and procedures that investment banks have in place to prevent their staff and agents from paying or receiving bribes. Whilst thematic reviews are not enforcement actions in themselves, they may lead to.
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