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August 25, 2021

The fight against corruption: A joint effort

“You shall not pass!” Remember that legendary scene in “Lord of the Rings” – the one where the wizard, Gandalf, blocks the ‘Demon of Might’ Balrog’s passage to protect his brotherhood in the Fellowship of the Ring? This is exactly the philosophy we take with our clients – the unconditional protection of their interests.

And because actions speak louder than words, we have embodied this philosophy through a “Zero Tolerance” policy and an anti-bribery Code of Conduct that is applicable – and especially, applied – to the whole Crédit Agricole Group.

An anti-bribery system

Seen from the outside, the banking world can seem obscure, and its practices sometimes abstruse... if not dubious. This isn’t exactly news. But for those would want to manage their finances and communicate with their bank in a direct and transparent way, it isn’t exactly tempting.

Our desire to guarantee sincerity and loyalty in our relationships with our clients, always, stems from this very realisation. But how does one go about this? This is where the International Organization for Standardization comes into play – you know, that international non-governmental and independent organisation that develops and publishes globally-recognised standards known as the “ISO Standards”.

In 2017, just a few months after the official standard was published in October 2016, the anti-bribery Code of Conduct developed and applied by Crédit Agricole Group was given the seal of approval – stamped under international standard, ISO 37001 (known as the “anti-bribery management system standard”) – by Euro Compliance.

ISO 37001 - Anti-Bribery Management Systems

What does the ISO 37001 standard stipulate?

The 50-some pages of documentation comprising this standard provide extensive information on the requirements for, and recommendations on, “establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an anti-bribery compliance programme”, as mentioned on the International Organization for Standardization’s website. It’s a vast programme and certainly makes for boring reading...

Let’s take a quick look together at the measures applied at the bank. These are to:

  • Guarantee transparency with, and loyalty to, clients;
  • Contribute to financial market integrity;
  • Prevent reputational risk and the risk of penal, administrative, or disciplinary sanctions, and
  • Fight against money laundering and fraud.

All of these measures meet the requirements of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (the FINMA), but especially – especially – guarantee to our clients that no misconduct of any kind is accepted. In short, the “Zero Tolerance Policy” is not just an abstract concept, but a reality on the ground.

So, certified and done?

It isn’t enough to have ISO certification (renewed in 2020, for that matter) to consider the fight against corruption as won - on the contrary! Constant vigilance is an absolute must. In fact, the anti-bribery Code of Conduct is but a link in a more global anti-bribery ‘chain’.

To track down bribery risk, other actions are carried out, namely the:

  • Implementation of governance dedicated to fighting corruption with – notably – the nomination of an Officer (the Head of Risk, Legal, and Compliance);
  • Risk mapping for corruption;
  • Creation of a training and awareness programme for all staff, with refresher courses every 3 years, and
  • • Reinforcement of protective measures for whistle-blowers that is totally confidential and secure through a dedicated online platform

Granted, no-one can pretend to defeat corruption with a single blow of a staff. But it is by being united, and working together, that we foster sincere, authentic, and transparent relationships with our clients.

Would you like to learn more about the topic?

Here are a few helpful links for you:

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