Frequently asked questions
Becoming a member allows you to participate in the various gatherings organized by Le Cercle (breakfast discussions, topical conferences, working committees) during which members benefit from the experience and feedback of other participants. Members have access to Compliance-related cutting-edge information: new regulations, new laws, new challenges and developments, references, publications, events, successful case studies.
Two easy options:
- By email
- And/or by mail addressed to Le Cercle De la Compliance at 5 rue du Commandant Rivière, 75008 Paris. The mail should include bank transfer information or a check made out to Le Cercle De la Compliance. You can download our membership application online.
Le Cercle is made up of four types of members:
- Founding members who were part of the association’s creation
- Active members
- Donating members
- And finally, honorary members
Le Cercle members pay an annual membership fee set each year by the association’s Board.
The committees are open to all Le Cercle members. Thematic or issue focused, their mission is to bring Compliance stakeholders together to discuss technical subjects or topics affecting the future of Compliance. By participating in the working groups and committees, members interested in Compliance-related topics will expand their knowledge and understanding, grow and reconnect with their network and share their experiences and expertise.
Once registered, members will be updated about the working group’s activities and have the ability to sign up for meetings. List of upcoming committees: To be determined.
Le Cercle is open to all persons, company representatives and individuals interested in Compliance issues, subject to approval by the Board of Directors.
Le Cercle publishes Compliance-related contributions from members. Minutes from the breakfasts and meetings organized by Le Cercle will also be made available. These publications are reserved exclusively for members. Furthermore, summaries of the reports and conclusions from the working groups may also be published.
Compliance is a term used in such diverse contexts that it becomes necessary to redefine the categories of risk that are concerned. A legal definition could be: “the entire set of policies and procedures put in place to ensure that all of the company’s employees and leaders respect the standards and regulations applicable to the company as well as the values and ethical expectations set by the leaders.” Compliance can also be defined as a proactive step by the company to organize and implement procedures and the means needed for regulations to be respected. Compliance programs are not just rooted in laws and local, European or international regulations, but also from agreements and texts pertaining to a company’s sector of activity. Compliance rules cover a variety of areas such as:
- Respecting the laws, professionals and rules relating to the industry;
- Preserving the image and reputation of the company and its leaders;
- Preventing corruption, financial crimes (accurate accounting, financial reporting), anti-corruption (Sarbanes Oxley, audit), insider trading, conflicts of interest, as well as environmental and social risks;
- Respecting rules of competition;
- Applying good business practices (expense reports, donations, gifts, etc.);
- Protecting private information;
- Protecting intellectual property (brands, patents, trade secrets, image rights);
- Protecting the use of company property and information, employee non-compete agreements;
- Respecting social responsibility and sustainable development measures;
- Avoiding workplace liabilities and demanding high standards from suppliers (fair wages and work hours, no child labor, safe working conditions, freedom of association, etc.)…
Risk mapping is moving more and more towards risks that are specific to each type of company and each type of activity.
On the surface, Compliance may seem to be a constraint or major expense for companies. But in the longer term, Compliance actually proves to be a real asset for competitiveness. From a business and operational standpoint, it is indeed an incomparable tool in terms of the internal and external organization and development of a company that also enables employees to unite around common values. Compliance programs help companies maintain a positive image, instill confidence in customers and suppliers and demonstrates to shareholders that the company is operating smoothly and has good corporate governance- all while reducing risks the company might be vulnerable to. A Compliance program, if truly applied, provides the means to identify risks and ensures effective management. It also shows an effort to better cooperate with the authorities and the law.
Is there currently an organization in France that brings together and unifies all of the compliance stakeholders?
Le Cercle De la Compliance is the first organization in France to bring together all of the stakeholders, French and international, regardless of the industry, involved with Compliance issues.
The ways to implement and organize Compliance programs are really adaptable to any type of company, corporate culture or business activity. Numerous strategies are possible, but there is one overriding factor that is key to any strategy: Top Management (starting with the President) must support and promote the efforts in a realistic and operational manner. Building awareness amongst employees about the importance of Compliance issues and communicating the risks associated are two additional major tools.
The scope of Compliance varies depending on the business sector and impacts a wide range of issues such as: respecting laws, professional codes, specific rules pertaining to particular divisions, financial crimes, conflicts of interest, insider trading, respecting rules of competition, good business practices, intellectual property rights, data privacy, social responsibility, the environment and sustainable development, accountability for demanding high standards from suppliers, use of company assets and information, employee non-compete agreements. Compliance programs have been focusing a growing amount of attention on issues that are specific to particular divisions such as safety, hygiene, suppliers’ working conditions and traceability.
Given its intrinsically flexible nature, a company’s Compliance efforts can be implemented in a variety of ways depending on the corporate culture- whether it be a fulltime position dedicated entirely to its mission or a collaborative effort between all the different divisions. Ideally, Compliance programs are implemented by an autonomous ‘Ethics and Compliance’ department, but may also be integrated into an existing department by dividing the different functions and operations across different roles and geographical locations.
The Compliance Officer must have a global and cross-sectional vision of the company and have a good understanding of the business. They must be able to anticipate any potential constraints and risks. Their role: to advise, inform and monitor. They must thus audit the chain of command, assess conflicts of interest, create a risk map and ensure the full traceability of information. They must also identify areas or people that are particularly vulnerable, the mechanisms and stakes, the monitoring points and the required reporting. They must also assess the economic implications: calculate the costs associated with different issues. The Compliance Officer interacts transversally with the various jobs and branches and is associated with the highest level of decision-making. They are also the liaison with regulators. Their scope of activity is wide given that they oversee that the rules of good conduct are respected and that internal procedures are followed. Their effectiveness relies on the level of cooperation of the company’s various stakeholders.