Our approach to identifying and assessing corruption risk is embedded within our broader risk management approach; for more information see our Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy.
Risks are identified by individuals across all businesses and functions and at many layers of the organisation. Compliance is considered a principal risk at a Group-level; this risk is subject to review.
Bribery and corruption are not only against our Company values; they are illegal and can expose both the employee and the Company to fines and penalties, including imprisonment and reputational damage.
At Principal, bribery is never permitted. We will not seek to influence others, either directly or indirectly, by offering, paying or receiving bribes or kickbacks, or by any other means that is considered unethical, illegal or harmful to our reputation for honesty and integrity.
Employees and representatives of the Company are expected to decline any opportunity which would place our ethical principles and reputation at risk.
While certain laws apply only to bribes to government officials (domestic and foreign); the Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy applies to non-government business partners as well.
What is bribery and corruption?
Bribery is offering, giving or receiving anything of value with the intention of inducing a person to act or to reward a person for having acted.
It is important to understand that a corrupt act has occurred even if:
“Anything of value” includes, but is not limited to
We must clearly convey to third parties representing the Company that we expect them to comply with our Bribery and Corruption Policy. In some jurisdictions, the Company can be convicted of a criminal offense if it fails to prevent bribery carried out on its behalf by a third party even if no one in the Company had actual knowledge of the bribe.
Whenever the Company seeks to engage a third party in which the third party may interact with a Government Official for or on behalf of the Company, the following guidelines apply:
Due diligence should be performed to ensure that the third party is a bona fide and legitimate entity; is qualified to perform services for which it will be retained; and maintains standards consistent with the legal, regulatory, ethical and reputational standards of the Company.
Agreements with third parties must be in writing and should contain provisions related to the following, based on corruption risk present in the third-party relationship:
A representation that the third party will remain in compliance with all relevant anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA.A provision that requires the third party to respond to reasonable requests for information from the Company regarding the work performed under the agreement and related expenditures by the third party.
Laws and regulations are strict when dealing with Government Officials. Reasonable corporate hospitality that is acceptable with other business associates might not be allowable when Government Officials are involved.
Before such expenses are incurred, obtain approval from your Compliance Director.
A Government Official is any:
The definition of what could constitute a bribe to a Government Official is broad and can occur even when the benefit being offered is small, such as gifts, entertainment and even business meals.
Some laws allow expenses which relate to reasonable and bona fide travel, accommodation and meal expenses in connection with a contract between the Company and the third party, or the demonstration of Company capabilities relating to proposed business with the third party.
“Facilitation or grease payments” are payments that facilitate a normal governmental function, such as to expedite processing paperwork. While these types of payments may be accepted as “a cost of doing business” in some cultures, they are illegal and counter to our values.
Employees and representatives should seek clarification on any questions or concerns regarding activities under consideration or the interpretation of any law.
If you are offered a bribe from a person or entity doing business with or seeking to do business with the Company, report it immediately to your business area’s Compliance Director/legal contact.
If you are offered something of value and are uncertain whether you are allowed to accept it, refer to the gift & entertainment policy and standards applicable to your location, or check with your leader or your business area’s Compliance Director/legal contact.
Violations can be reported anonymously by using the Ethics Hotline or online reporting form (available on the intranet or Internet). Our Whistleblower Policy protects employees who report concerns in good faith.