Compliance – just what is it for?

Compliance – just what is it for?

South-Westphalia’s first “Compliance Day” is taking place at Erich Utsch AG’s headquarters.

Siegen. Exchange of experiences, further training, networking – it was on the basis of these keywords that on September 19, 2019, the Erich Utsch AG company brought together 20 compliance experts from all over South-Westphalia for the first regional “Compliance Day” at Marienhütte. 

In recent years, compliance - defined as a company’s awareness of regulations and ethically correct behaviour - has become increasingly important within and for the German economy. Since 2014, for Erich Utsch AG, the new board of directors has been the driving force behind the setting up of an internal culture of compliance whose aim, not only among the management but also throughout the entire workforce, is to increase awareness of the requirements for and the importance of acting in accordance with operational regulations.

For this reason, and in his role as host and initiator of the event, Mike Sondermann, Erich Utsch AG‘s compliance officer, started with a provocative question: “Compliance – just what is it for?” 

There are many answers, because reputation and integrity are values which with regard to the competition certainly pay off in the long term, provided they are supplied and nourished by a culture which is integrated and actively practised within the company. As he said: “The perfect situation means adhering to standards – not on the basis of monitoring and the fear of potential consequences if they are not adhered to, but because of wide-ranging commitment on the part of the employees working as an ethically competent team.” He continued by pointing out that the result for a company is an intangible competitive advantage which plays a not inconsiderable role in an economic system increasingly characterised by ethical values, especially in bidding markets. 

Following this brief but concise introduction, Mike Sondermann made way for the evening’s actual speakers, namely Dr. Helmut Görling from Frankfurt (“Breach of duty of responsible bodies - Automatically also punishable breach of trust?”) and Dr. Detlef Grimm from Cologne (“More protection for trade secrets - An overview of the new rules and things to be done”) who reported clearly and in realistic ways, using their professional and legal experience, about the requirements and challenges relating to conformity with regulations made of companies in general and compliance representatives in particular, combined with a lively exchange of experiences with the attendees. 

At the end of the event, in a convivial gathering, there was general agreement that the time had been well-spent: “For all those who took part, this first compliance day was a helpful and interesting approach which underlines the special value of operating in commerce with integrity and sustainably,” Mike Sondermann said, “because an integrated culture of compliance makes a company more valuable – in every respect.” This was certainly not the last event of its kind.