Compliance 2017 Compliance_2017 - Page 5

Corporate compliance annual report “ One of the major opportunities for law firms in Portugal relates to advising clients on the creation and implementation of compliance policies and programmes, namely in relation to combating money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the issue of data protection, says MLGTS partner Tiago Félix da Costa. He adds that there is also significant work for law firms in regulated industries such as There is no single effective method of having good compliance, businesses have to be very vigilant. María José Menéndez Ashurst in foreign jurisdictions because of compliance issues, even though the businesses were profitable enterprises. Clients are turning to law firms to ask for training on how to deal with “dawn raids”, says one partner. “This can involve training receptionists, for example, on what protocols to follow,” the partner adds. “For example, it’s important that clients do not destroy information.” Portugal: Fight against terrorism Contentious matters relating to compliance will increase in Portugal, according to Uría Menéndez-Proença de Carvalho partner Nuno Salazar Casanova. He adds that this will be partly due to new measures introduced by the Bank of Portugal following the global crisis, which had a severely damaging effect on the Portuguese banking sector. He adds that compliance matters related to financial institutions and the “financing of terrorism” will also be a feature of the market in future. There is an increasing number of new laws that require companies – particularly those in the energy, banking, capital markets or insurance sectors – to adopt “written compliance mechanisms and compliance programmes, the infringement of which may imply the assessment of severe penalties and ancillary sanctions,” says Sofia Ribeiro Branco, partner at VDA - Vieira de Almeida. She adds that using compliance as a “defence tool is a new hot topic for lawyers, as sanctions may be significantly reduced (or maybe not imposed) if companies succeed in demonstrating they have strong compliance programmes which they implement and enforce”. ” health and telecommunications where regulation is increasing. Meanwhile, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will bring about dramatic changes related to data protection and privacy. Félix da Costa also says that “unlike in Spain, Italy and other countries, Portugal does not have a clear definition of how companies’ liability should be exempted if they prove to have adequate compliance programmes”. Hugo Rosa Ferreira, partner at PLMJ, says that there is generally an increasing awareness of the importance of compliance Portugal: What are the biggest opportunities for law firms in the area of corporate compliance? “There has been a substantial increase in the regulations applicable to corporations operating in specific areas of activity, such as energy, telecommunications, IT, health, and data protection. But there is also increasing demand for legal services relating to specific corporate regulations, such as minority shareholders’ activism, corporate governance, trade with related parties, prevention of money laundering, and groups with companies based on different jurisdictions.” Alexandre Jardim, partner, Pbbr “Today’s business world increases the need for companies to adopt credible corporate compliance policies. Portuguese companies still have a long way to go on this matter, since most of them still see compliance as a strictly banking and finance matter or as an investment that does not pay off. In the last few years though, companies have increasingly been held liable by courts for not taking enough preventative measures, for example, or for not implementing adequate surveillance mechanisms. This has been a growing concern for enterprises and this generates business opportunities for law firms.” Alberto Galhardo Simões, partner, Miranda & Associados “There are plenty of events that may affect compliance affairs and create new opportunities. An event which has had a considerable impact on compliance matters is the UK vote for Brexit, which will certainty have significant regulation and enforcement repercussions for compliance professionals the world over for years to come. The increasing use of technology and the focus on corporate culture and behaviours, standards of corporate governance and the role of leadership are also pressure points.” Joana Andrade Correia, senior associate, Raposo Bernardo “The Portuguese market has strong links with the Spanish market, with cross-border operations. The growing importance of compliance in Spain – first with the changes in the Spanish Criminal Code in 2015 and the interpretation of the Spanish Public Prosecutor Office (“Fiscalia General del Estado”) – should have a strong impact on Portuguese companies. If the compliance requirements of the American and British markets are there for a few years, the rush for compliance policies in Spain will imply important changes in branches located in Portugal and also in Portuguese companies. However, until now, Portuguese companies are not yet sufficiently committed to establishing strong and effective compliance policies.” Pedro Duro, counsel, Campos Ferreira, Sá Carneiro & Associados May / June 2017 • IBERIAN LAWYER • 41 >>