Last year, the Panama Papers scandal provided more disruption, highlighting the risks that go hand-in-hand with the benefits of the ease of doing business in New Zealand, and the flexibility of our Trust Law arrangements.
So how is 2017 shaping up in the regulatory and white collar space? We think that businesses need to be ready for an ongoing focus on business compliance and in particular, an increased focus on Anti-bribery & Corruption.
We have well and truly moved away from a “check-box”, or “compliance for compliance’s sake” mentality. A proportionate response approach to risk management is now well entrenched in New Zealand’s regulatory landscape as evidenced by the health and safety and AML regimes now in place under New Zealand law. We expect this to continue in 2017, and beyond, as legislation dealing with Anti-bribery, Corruption and Money Laundering puts more discretion, and responsibility, in the hands of the business community to implement strategies that manage risk in their own business and the country more broadly.
Anti-bribery and corruption
The Panama Papers provided a myriad of angles from which to analyse New Zealand’s regulatory environment, and potential changes from the government moving forward. Whilst at one level, discussion focused on the nature of trust arrangements available under New Zealand law, the underlying concern was regarding how these trusts might enable the laundering of proceeds of crime, particularly crimes conducted offshore by those in positions of power.
Cracking down on the ability to move proceeds is one response, but another is seeking to cut-off the criminal activity at the source, and this is why we consider that 2017 will see an increased focus on AB&C. Recent legislative amendments in this space have been combined with an increased enforcement effort, particularly from the SFO. We expect this to continue. Consequently, one of our tips for 2017 is for business to get ahead of the curve, and ensure that they have comprehensive AB&C policies and training in place.
By Aaron Lloyd a partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts.
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This is an abridged article taken from MinterEllisonRuddWatts 2017 Litigation Forecast.