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► Full Reference: A. Bruneau, "L'entreprise juge d'elle-même : la fonction compliance dans la banque" ("The company judge of itself: the compliance function inside the bank"), in M.-A. Frison-Roche (ed.), La juridictionnalisation de la Compliance, coll. "Régulations & Compliance", Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and Dalloz, 2023, p. 115-131.
📕read a general presentation of the book, La juridictionnalisation de la Compliance, in which this article is published
► Summary of the article (done by the author): First of all, it should be remembered that the compliance function was born within finance, and that by being structured, it has evolved to support the transition from regulatory law to compliance law. Through these changes, compliance has gone from an ex-post controlling function to an ex-ante binding function. The LIBOR crisis imperfectly illustrates the primacy of this transition. The evolution of this role is illustrated by concrete examples
Firstly, the management of reputational risk is a fundamental part of the company as prosecutor and judge of itself. Reputational risk is a significant element for a financial institution, because it can have negative consequences on its capitalization, or even culminate in a systemic crisis. Avoiding a large-scale financial crisis is also part of the monumental goals of compliance.
In order to avoid complex and inopportune scenarios, compliance law intervenes as early as possible and identifies issues that may impact reputation. The regulations require the implementation of certain ex ante mechanisms. The French law known as "Sapin 2" requires the implementation of tools that concern all companies (and not just banks). Indeed, beyond the risk of reputation, it is essential to consider the risk of corruption. Consideration of reputational risk may justify refusing to execute certain transactions. From this perspective, compliance must assess the potential consequences of entering into a relationship with a new client upstream, sometimes to decline the provision of services. The compliance function therefore unilaterally judges the relationship with a view to managing the company reputational risk.
Secondly, the internal sanction mechanism established by compliance law is also discussed in this article, in particular the internal sanctions adopted by compliance in a financial institution.
Compliance can act as a prosecutor via management committees set up within the business lines. In addition, compliance can determine and apply sanctions against employees. In this way, there is a dual role of prosecutor and judge for the compliance function within the framework of an extraordinary mechanism of ordinary law.
Finally, the analysis deals with the case of the "judge-judged": following a decision by the bank, the regulator may take an even stricter position by believing that the bank is applying its guidelines incorrectly. Thus, the compliance law, which takes hold within the banking enterprise, finds itself under the judgment of its own regulator. The company finds itself judged and comes to be a prosecutor and judge of itself, but also of its clients.
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