Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy of Smith & Williamson Holdings Limited
- Responsibility for policy
The policy is approved by the Board of Directors of Smith & Williamson Holdings Limited on behalf of all the companies in the Smith & Williamson Group, as relevant (together, “Smith & Williamson”). Its effectiveness and appropriateness to Smith & Williamson should be considered by the Board on an annual basis, or more frequently in the event of any specific requirements introduced by legislation or regulation.
All employees and other associated persons are responsible for the success of this policy and should ensure that they use it to disclose any suspected danger or wrongdoing.
- Legislative Framework
This policy is drafted pursuant to the Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July 2011 (“the Act”). Under the Act, bribery and corruption are punishable for individuals by up to ten years’ imprisonment and if Smith & Williamson are found to have failed to prevent bribery or corruption, we could face an unlimited fine and face damage to our reputation. We therefore take our legal responsibilities very seriously.
- Policy statement
Smith & Williamson values its reputation and is committed to maintaining the highest level of ethical standards in the conduct of its business affairs. The actions and conduct of our staff as well as others acting on our behalf are key to maintaining these standards.
We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate and implement and enforce effective systems to counter bribery.
The purpose of this policy is to:
(a) set out our responsibilities, and of those working for us, in observing and upholding our position on bribery and corruption; and
(b) provide information and guidance to those working for us on how to recognise and deal with bribery and corruption issues.
This policy is not intended to prohibit the following practices provided they are appropriate, proportionate and are properly recorded:
(a) normal hospitality, provided that it complies with the firm’s Inducements or Gifts & Entertainment Policy (“G&E Policy”);
(b) fast tracking a process which is available to all on the payment of a fee; and/or
(c) providing resources to assist a person or body to make a decision more efficiently, provided that it is for this purpose only.
As part of our procedures to demonstrate that we have taken steps to prevent bribery and corruption, we have carried out a risk assessment of the risks to Smith & Williamson and used the information identified to draft this policy. The risk assessment is updated annually and the policy reviewed following that risk assessment.
- Who is covered by this policy?
The policy applies strictly to all employees, partners/directors, agents, consultants, contractors and to any other people or bodies associated with the Smith & Williamson group of companies, within all regions, areas and functions.
“Associated person”, for the purposes of the corporate offence detailed above, is defined widely in section 8 of the Act and includes anyone who performs services for, or on behalf of, Smith & Williamson regardless of their capacity, to be determined by reference to all the relevant circumstances.
- Third Parties
In this policy, third party means any individual or organisation we come into contact with during the course of our work, and includes actual and potential clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, government and public bodies, including their advisors, representatives and officials, politicians and political parties.
Actions by third parties for which the firm may be held responsible i.e. associated persons could expose us to risk under the Act. Third parties will only be engaged where there is a clear business rationale for doing so, with an appropriate contract. Any payments to third parties will be properly authorised and recorded and effective payment controls are currently in place for third party payments. Higher risk referral or supplier arrangements should be subject to enhanced due diligence procedures. Supplier and outsourcing contracts will include appropriate clauses to reflect our zero tolerance of bribery and corruption and the requirement for them to have appropriate policies to prevent.
- Gifts & Hospitality
The provision of gifts and hospitality are relatively common when doing business and are not unlawful. However, gifts, hospitality, and political or charitable donations will be bribes if they are given or received with the intention of influencing business decisions.
It is therefore important for Smith & Williamson to clearly set out its policy on what is and what is not acceptable, taking into account the nature of our business, standard practice within the industry and the jurisdictions in which we operate.
This policy does not prohibit normal and appropriate hospitality (given and received) to or from third parties and gifts, entertainment and hospitality are acceptable provided they fall within our internal Gifts & Entertainment Policy.
- What is not acceptable?
It is not acceptable for us (or someone on our behalf) to:
(a) give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to rewards a business advantage already given;
(b) give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality to a government official, agent or representative to “facilitate” or expedite a routine procedure;
(c) accept payment from a third party that you know or suspect is offered with the expectation or hope that it will obtain a business advantage for them;
(d) accept a gift or hospitality from a third party if you know or suspect that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be provided by us in return;
(e) threaten or retaliate against another worker who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy; or
(f) engage in any activity that might lead to a breach of this policy.
- Facilitation Payments and Kickbacks
Smith & Williamson do not make, and will not accept, facilitation payments or “kickbacks” of any kind. Facilitation payments are typically small, unofficial payments made to secure or expedite a routine government action by a government official. They are not commonly paid in the UK but may be common in some other jurisdictions.
Kickbacks are typically payments made in return for a business favour or advantage. All employees, directors and partners must avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, that a facilitation payment or kickback will be made or accepted by us.
We do not make contributions to political parties. We only make charitable donations that are legal and ethical under local laws and practices. Our Supporting Charities policy covers how we manage charity donations. We only support charities through donations through the Charities Committee, advertising and sponsorship through the charities’ advertising budget and corporate hospitality at charity events. A request from the business for a client or potential client needs to meet the requirement of one of the above processes as set out in the Supporting Charities policy. If it doesn’t, it will unfortunately be rejected.
- Employee responsibilities
The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working for Smith & Williamson or under Smith & Williamson’s control. All staff are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy and report any concerns or suspicions that a breach of this policy has occurred or may occur in the future.
Any employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. Smith & Williamson reserves the right to terminate our contractual relationship with other workers if they breach this policy.
We maintain financial records and have appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third parties and record hospitality or gifts accepted or offered to employees.
Staff who refuse to accept or offer a bribe, or those who raise concerns or report another’s wrongdoing, are sometimes worried about possible repercussions. Smith & Williamson aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken, as per our Whistleblowing Policy.
Smith & Williamson are committed to ensuring no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting in good faith their suspicion that an actual or potential bribery or other corruption offence has taken place, or may take place in the future. Detrimental treatment includes dismissal, disciplinary action, threats or other unfavourable treatment connected with raising a concern.
- Training and Communication
Training on this policy forms part of the induction process for all new workers. All existing staff receive training on how to implement and adhere to this policy.
Smith & Williamson’s zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption must be communicated to all suppliers, contractors and business partners at the outset of our business relationship with them and as appropriate thereafter.
- Annual Review of Policy
An annual risk assessment of the financial crime risks that Smith & Williamson is exposed to is undertaken and regular monitoring takes place.