Compliance: Spain looks ‘ahead’

Compliance: Spain looks ‘ahead’

The end of “Manaña y manaña y manaña”? Is Compliance ready to awaken in Spain? Some musings on the Scottish play’s lessons for Spanish business.

Opinion polls in Spain have repeatedly demonstrated the profound public dissatisfaction (to put it mildly!) at the three evils of Financial Crisis, Unemployment and Corruption. These “Three Witches” have caused great damage to the positive image of Spain for international investors and businesses, where a common perception is that “Fair is foul and Foul is fair”.

Publications such as The Local Spain have had rich pickings in selecting the Top Ten corruption cases in the country http://www.thelocal.es/20141030/top-ten-corruption-cases-plaguing-spain-scandal. When the country’s royal family and “leading” politicians are impacted, any semblance of Tone from the Top is irrevocably shattered for generations.

So we now learn that 21 January 2015 will be the date when Congress is due to approve the long-awaited reform to the Penal Code.

All Spanish companies will now have to appoint a Compliance Officer. This can be the general manager or owner or, for “large companies”, a person independent of the management team. With 24,000 companies falling into the latter category, we are poised for dramatic impact on Compliance in Spain.

This goes beyond the compliance best practices and regulatory requirements imposed by other countries. Implementation will clearly be the trick, and it will be fascinating to see what happens on the ground – could corporate Spain really practice one of the world’s most stringent compliance regimes? Will they Walk the Talk?

Impact on Integrity is monitoring developments closely to see if the liability on directors for failure to prevent non-compliance, proposed for deletion by the Popular Party last December, will make the final script…sorry, legislative text. To quote the Bard, “screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail!”

This marks a key moment for Compliance here in Spain. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Spanish companies to become a beacon of best practice internationally! Spain has a golden opportunity to shine a leading light for Compliance throughout Europe, across to Latin America and onto the global stage.

When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”

Not in our lifetimes, let’s hope!

“When the hurly-burly’s done. When the battle’s lost…and won.”

Editor’s note (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Witches): The Three Witches are characters in William Shakespeare‘s play Macbeth (c. 1603–1607). Their origin lies in Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587), a history of England, Scotland and Ireland. Other possible sources influencing their creation aside from Shakespeare’s ownimagination include British folklore, contemporary treatises on witchcraft includingKing James I and VI’s Daemonologie, Scandinavian legends of the Norns, and ancient classical myths concerning the Fates, the Greek myths of the Moirai and the Roman myths of the Parcae. Shakespeare’s witches are prophets who hail the general Macbeth early in the play with predictions of his rise as king. Upon committing regicide and taking the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears the trio deliver ambiguous prophecies threatening his downfall. The witches’ dark and contradictory natures, their “filthy” trappings and activities, as well as their interaction with the supernatural all set an ominous tone for the play.

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