Competition compliance refers essentially to measures taken by an enterprise to prevent it from conducting business in a way which is not in conformity with the Competition Act 2007.
A compliance programme includes the functions, resources, and procedures implemented by a business organization to comply with the laws applicable to it. Basically, the adoption of a competition compliance programme aims to help a business from avoiding conducts that are anti-competitive. And, thus, to run business in conformity with the Competition Act 2007.
Benefits of having an effective competition compliance programme
A compliance programme will minimize the risks of infringing competition law.
It would enable the detection of any possible infringement at an early stage, thereby allowing timely remedial action.
Hence, it would avoid an enterprise being found in breach and to avoid it being directed by the Commission through the imposition of remedial measures, in respect of its activities.
A compliance programme would also help in identifying anti-competitive practices in the marketplace and set out ways to tackle such a matter. A business would be smarter by knowing its responsibilities but also its rights under the Competition Act 2007.
It can, therefore, enhance the competitive edge of an enterprise.
The existence of a compliance programme and the implementation therefore may lead to a reduction of the level of fine imposed on an enterprise. It could be considered as a mitigating factor as it evidences a form of goodwill of the enterprise to abide by the law.
Tips for Competition Compliance
Businesses are urged to establish an internal effective framework to ensure compliance with competition law. This would need to cover all field of activity including both the acquisition and supply of goods and services.
The OECD has a wealth of legal and policy instruments designed to promote responsible business practices, including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the OECD Principles on Corporate Governance, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and OECD anti-cartel recommendations
Implementation of the compliance program must be active and inserted in daily activities.
A compliance programme would include training for all level of staff including top management.
The compliance programme and its implementation must be monitored regularly and revaluation carried out if needed.
Dos of Competition Law
- Implement a proper Competition Compliance Programme
- Voice out if you feel discussions during a meeting might breach the Competition Act 2007
- Take advantage of the Competition Commission’s Leniency Programme and avoid fines
- Contact the Competition Commission if an enterprise is behaving in an anti-competitive way
- Notify the Competition Commission of your intention to merge with or acquire another business
Don’ts of Competition Law
- Do not discuss prices and business strategies with competitors
- Do not engage in price fixing, market sharing, bid rigging and restriction of supply
- Do not think that you will not be caught by the Competition Commission
- Do not abuse your market position