Slovak Compliance Days 2015
The second Annual conference Slovak Compliance Days took place on 2 and 3 November 2015. The main theme of the conference was the topic Know your business partner. The aim of the conference was not only to create a space for professional debates on an effective approach to the verification of business partners, but also to point out the broader economic and social dimension of this issue. Part of the conference program was reserved for new trends in business ethics. The immediate feedback we received from participants from a wide range of professional orientations (compliance officers, lawyers, activists and representatives of non-profit organizations, journalists, international representatives of multinational companies, etc.) clearly confirms that this topic is perceived as very important. The participants appreciated the diversity of views and pointing out the context that the conference offered, especially thanks to the many interesting presenters and panelists who accepted the invitation to the conference.
Conference summary in numbers: • Conference duration: 1.5 days • Total number of lectures and workshops: 17 • Number of registered participants: 124 • Number of speakers and guests: 33
The conference brought a lot of interesting information and links. Many of them are an inspiration for directing other activities of our association. Below we summarize some interesting links with suggestions on how to follow them. Companies operating in our market are aware that it does not matter who they trade with. From the interim results of the Slovak Compliance Circle survey, it appears that Slovak companies consider reputational risk to be as significant as business risk in connection with their business partners. On the other hand, the way in which many of them approach the verification of business partners indicates that they do not do so in an targeted and effective manner. The participants of the conference communicated their interest in the possibility to deal in more detail and discuss at the professional level the individual key elements of the verification of business partners. The SCC should provide space for expert debates and sharing experiences in this area and will publish on this topic. One of the most important challenges in verifying business partners is obtaining information on legal and natural persons. In Slovakia, compared to many other countries, we have a lot of publicly available information, but:
• Awareness of what is available needs to be continuously raised. The potential of open sources does not seem to be fully exploited, but rather by narrow groups of experts or activists. The SCC will work to raise awareness of existing open sources and the possibilities for their use, primarily, but not exclusively, among its members.
• Existing resources need to be improved and developed – this role is currently being actively taken over by NGOs (eg the Fair-Play Alliance). The SCC will develop cooperation with these organizations and, within its capabilities, support them in this effort.
One of the measures that should contribute to a more transparent environment within the whole region, not only Slovakia, is the Register of End User Benefits, which is expected to be implemented in each EU Member State by 27 June 2017. However, the implementation of the register alone will not guarantee transparency. The responsible authorities will need to ensure that the directive is meaningfully implemented so that the information held in the register is of real informative value and is regularly updated. The SCC should actively participate in professional public debates in order to promote a meaningful and effective solution in the implementation of the register. In 2015, the Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers of Anti-Social Activities entered into force, the so-called whistleblowing law. Its implementation has brought several challenges for organizations with the obligation to implement it. Unfortunately, there are obvious shortcomings on the part of state institutions, which play an important role in the statutory concept. However, a shift in the perception of the whole society is also very important for the communication to bring the desired results. Therefore, in addition to providing a space for sharing experiences at the professional level, the SCC will seek to raise awareness of the importance of notification and protection of whistleblowers among the general public through its diverse activities.
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