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‘Tis the season to avoid folly: how to stay compliant during the festive period

09 Nov 2023

As the festive season approaches, it’s that time of year when firms nurture business relationships by hosting events and exchanging gifts and other tokens of goodwill as symbols of appreciation. However, gifting carries responsibility for firms in highly regulated industries, and a misstep could have serious consequences.

Beyond the obvious indiscretions, certain types of gifting can run afoul of regulators—or at the very least, the public eye—without firms realising it. So, how can companies exchange gifts without causing social or legal trouble down the line?

Spruce up your anti-bribery policy

In some cases, the distinction between a simple gift and what could be interpreted as a bribe is clear. Anti-bribery regulations prevent firms from exchanging gifts that might award their business an unfair advantage.

Review your firm’s anti-bribery policies and AML/KYC checks leading up to the festive period. Ensure your colleagues and wider team are aware of what they can accept, what they need to report and what constitutes a bribe.

But what about more ambiguous exchanges and reviewing the optics of a gift before it changes hands?

AML/KYC technology can help you make a list and check it twice

While it might sound unusual to leverage powerful AML/KYC technology for your holiday gifting, the appropriate fintech tools have been found to be invaluable.

Unless your organisation completely bans giving and receiving gifts, the landscape of gift exchange is one you probably navigate more than once each year. You take the time and care to practice good AML/KYC compliance with your clients—but what about with your suppliers, investors and other business stakeholders?

AML/KYC technology can validate gifts to save time and energy. By scanning for PEP and sanction checks, conducting global and regional keyword media searches, and providing a time-stamped audit trail, you can be reassured that your gift exchanges are compliant while minimising operational risks.

If applying an advanced fintech solution to your holiday gift list sounds Scrooge-like, take a moment to consider the implications. Imagine exchanging gifts with a person or business, only to discover they work for a competitor or were recently in the press for ethically challenging activities.

When an unintentional oversight could erupt in significant scandal, taking the time to exercise due diligence on the recipients of your gift list could be worth its weight in gold.

Gifting should be merry and bright

Knowing that you’ve reviewed your internal policies and are confident in what gifts you can send and receive, thanks to efficient AML/KYC technology, means you can spend the festive season focusing on more important things.

It’s the perfect time of year to build relationships with your clients and business partners, and for them to get to know you better, so remaining compliant shouldn’t be a burden.

Bring peace to your seasonal giving with MaxComply

IQ-EQ’s market-leading MaxComplyTM software, designed by compliance experts, operates as a multi-function employee compliance tool providing scheduling, delivery and returns of all employee certifications to firm-wide policies and procedures.

With MaxComply, employees can pre-clear and disclose their gifts and entertainment, while the platform’s powerful system of global checks includes an intelligent risk assessment engine and full audit trail.

To learn what MaxComply can do for you for this season (and beyond), get in touch with our team today.

Working with IQ-EQ has been seamless – you and your team understand our business, advise us appropriately, and handle your side of our collective partnership so that we can focus on making good investment decisions. Evan Gibson SVP, Merchants Capital

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