Anti-Bribery and Corruption Statement
Financial Times group (“FT”) is committed to conducting business ethically in every country where we operate, as well as complying with all applicable laws. This includes compliance with anti-bribery and anti-corruption (“ABC”) laws such as the USA’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and the UK Bribery Act 2010.
The purpose of this document is to set out FT’s stance in relation to bribery and corruption. This statement applies to all consultants, agents, sales reps, associated third parties and contractors of FT within all regions, areas and functions.
FT’s policy on bribery and corruption
FT has a zero tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption.
FT staff and others working on our behalf must not offer, promise or give a bribe to anyone, and must not request, agree to accept, or take a bribe from anyone.
FT has in place measures to maintain its high ethical standards and protect its reputation against any allegations of bribery and corruption. It is the FT’s policy to compete fairly. We want to win business because of the quality and competitiveness of our products and services. We will not attempt to win on any other basis. We seek to positively influence others wherever practical by setting an example and openly refusing to undertake or support bribery as a way of doing business anywhere the world.
Bribery is illegal
Bribery is a crime in most countries where FT operates, and penalties can be severe, including prison sentences and large financial penalties. The UK Bribery Act 2010 applies to FT and those performing services on its behalf worldwide. It not only makes paying or taking a bribe illegal, i.e. the person who pays or takes a bribe has committed a crime, but also holds UK companies liable for failing to prevent bribery by those working on its behalf, even indirectly (such as through non-UK subsidiaries, agents, sales reps, contractors, suppliers and intermediaries) unless the company can prove it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
In addition to the UK Bribery Act 2010, there are a number of anti-bribery and corruption laws globally, which FT and those providing services on its behalf may need to comply with. For example, under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) it is a crime to bribe a foreign official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or to secure an improper advantage.
Recognising bribery and corruption
A bribe could involve:
- The direct or indirect promise, offer, authorisation, or provision of anything of value.
- The offer or receipt of any kickback, loan, fee, commission, reward, or other advantage.
- The giving of contributions or donations designed or stipulated to influence the recipient to act in the giver’s favour.
The purpose of a bribe is often to obtain, retain or “facilitate” business, where the person receiving the bribe is, or may be, in a position to provide that kind of business advantage to the party offering the bribe. This may involve sales initiatives, such as tendering and contracting; or, it may simply involve the handling of administrative tasks such as licences, customs, taxes or import/export matters. It does not matter whether the act of bribery is committed before or after the tendering of a contract or the completion of an administrative task.
The party offering or receiving a bribe might be:
- An employee, officer or director.
- Any person acting on behalf of FT (e.g., third party suppliers or agents).
- Individuals and organisations representing FT that authorise someone else to carry out these acts.
Where do bribery and corruption risks typically arise?
This section deals with some specific situations that may present concern about the potential for bribery or corruption.
Use of agents and third parties
Because the actions of an agent, or third party acting on FT’s behalf, can expose FT to liability under ABC laws, a level of due diligence appropriate to the market may be undertaken prior to the appointment of an agent or third party, and at renewal of any agreement with an agent or third party. Particular care will be taken to understand any connection to a government official. It is the third party’s responsibility to fully declare any such connection or any other relevant factors to FT.
FT may require that agreements with agents and third parties include provisions regarding compliance with ABC laws.
Hospitality and entertainment
Bona fide hospitality and promotional or other business expenditure, which seeks to promote our brand, to better present products and services, or to establish cordial relations, is recognised as an established and important part of doing business.
Hospitality, entertainment, or other business expenses provided to business partners and customers for these purposes are permitted, as long as they are reasonable and proportionate, and are not intended to influence the outcome of any business transaction. If you have any queries, please discuss these with your FT contact or email Compliance@ft.com.
Hospitality, entertainment or other similar expenses are not permitted if:
- It might influence the outcome of a business transaction, whatever the value of the expense, or a reasonable individual could interpret it that way.
- It is for the purpose of facilitating or expediting any decision to award new business, to renew existing business or to take any other action.
- It is given for personal benefit, friendship, personal acquaintances or family purposes.
Giving and receiving gifts
In many countries where FT does business there are generally accepted customs regarding the exchange of business gifts to strengthen business relationships. FT generally permits the giving and receiving of business gifts of ‘Nominal Value’ that are customary business courtesies and are reasonable in value and frequency; for FT staff this may mean prior approval from the FT’s designated ABC manager.
The giving or receiving of gifts (or otherwise personal preferential treatment) by FT staff or third parties acting on our behalf must never:
- Be used to obligate, or appear to obligate, the recipient.
- Be of cash, cash vouchers, certificates with a set negotiable value, or other cash equivalents.
- Be sought or requested from any person or organisation.
Facilitation payments are defined as “any facilitating payment or expediting payment to a foreign official, political party, or party official, the purpose of which is to expedite or to secure the performance of a routine governmental action”. They are illegal under UK law and the laws of many other countries, and are prohibited by FT policy. An example of a facilitation payment is an unofficial $200 “visa payment” to an immigration official upon arrival into a foreign country (the country’s embassy states the official cost of visa upon arrival is $50).
No FT employee, agent or third party acting on FT’s behalf may willingly offer to make, or make, a facilitation payment.
Payments to facilitate tax evasion
FT will not facilitate the evasion of tax by a customer, supplier or other third party, including government officials and contractors, by making payments to offshore bank accounts, or by other means, which have no commercial basis or could be construed by tax authorities to be made to facilitate tax evasion by the recipient.
If you are aware of any FT related non-compliance with this statement or applicable ABC Laws and Regulations you can report it to our General Counsel (Compliance@ft.com). FT staff should follow our internal whistleblowing policy.