Talk Series “Binder Grösswang impulse”: The Compliance Tightrope. The Delicate Balance between Requirements and Reality
Approximately 150 guests accepted the invitation of the commercial law firm Binder Grösswang to attend a discussion focussing on "The Compliance Tightrope. The Delicate Balance between Requirements and Reality" in the context of the talk series impulse. The event took place in the firm's conference area on 11 March 2013.
The panellists were Beatrix Karl, Austrian Federal Minister of Justice; Manfred Nötzel, Chief Public Prosecutor, Head of Public Prosecutions Munich I; Georg Pölzl, CEO of Österreichische Post AG; Thomas Winkler, Member of the Management Board of Lenzing AG; and Roland Steinmeyer, partner at WilmerHale Berlin. The discussion was moderated by Michael Nikbakhsh, editor-in-chief of the economics department of "Profil" magazine.
Beatrix Karl stated unequivocally: "There is no place for corruption in Austria! The judiciary made that clear last year. With the expansion of the Austrian Federal Public Prosecutor's Office against Corruption, the introduction of more severe punishments for crimes of corruption, and the new Lobby and Interest Representation Register, the judiciary has provided for more transparency and rectitude in politics and business. On this basis, businesses make their own contributions to the battle against corruption in our country by adhering to strict compliance rules."
Manfred Nötzel said that in his opinion, a "compliance system" consisting of printed guidelines and instructions could not be taken seriously if the will to implement the rules was lacking. "Systems to be taken seriously are distinguished by their 'tone from the top'. The management has to show that it takes compliance seriously and not only rewards ethical behaviour but also clearly discourages unethical conduct through punitive sanctions. This is a definite function of higher management."
Georg Pölzl shares this outlook. He underlined that "in order to establish a compliance culture in a company, it is essential that the CEO and the top management be truly behind it and set a good example". On this basis, Pölzl stated, Österreichische Post has implemented a group-wide compliance management system (CMS) that pursues a risk-oriented prevention strategy and has integrated compliance into the business process by means of clear rules.
Thomas Winkler remarked: "The sharpest compliance instrument a company can have is a change of awareness across all levels of the organisation. However, this can only happen if the company succeeds in placing compliance at the top of its agenda on a long-term basis. This is precisely what we are trying to do at Lenzing."
In Roland Steinmeyer's opinion, the management board of a company has the duty to establish a functioning compliance system: "Numerous cases have shown that inadequate compliance structures can cost a company and its management board members dearly. Proper compliance saves money. Compliance infringements damage a company's reputation and can, to a great extent, be detrimental to business. "
The guest list included u.a. DI Friedrich Stickler (Deputy Director General, Österreichische Lotterien), Arnold Schiefer (CEO, Rail Cargo Austria AG), Werner Fleischer (Member of the Management Board, VERBUND Austrian Power Trading AG), Florian Hagenauer (Member of the Management Board, Oberbank AG), Johann Maurer (Member of the Management Board, Macquarie Investment Management Austria Kapitalanlage AG), Gertraud Wöber (Secretary General, AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG), Alexander Martinowsky and Adolf Tripold (Members of the Board Wiesenthal & Co AG), Peter Zöhling (Managing Director, VERBUND Finanzierungsservice GmbH), Heimo Hackel (CEO, card complete Service Bank AG), Herbert Maderbacher (CEO, Six Card Solutions Austria GmbH), Patrick F. Prügger (Managing Partner, B&C Holding GmbH), Manfred Filaus (Head of Relationship Management, BAWAG P.S.K.), Ina Kogler (Senior Compliance Officer, Raiffeisen Bank International AG), Celia Konrad (Head of Legal Department, RHI AG), Gerhard Lipowec (Rechtsabteilung Head of the Legal Department, Schenker&Co AG), Christian Mende (Chief Compliance Officer, EVN AG), Pia Scheck-Kollmann (Compliance Officer, ORF), Christian Schuppich (Legal Department, MAGNA International Europe AG), Stefan Urmann (Head of Legal Department, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG) and Wolfgang Rosam (Change Communications).
Binder Grösswang has established itself as one of the leading law firms in Austria in the field of compliance and advises numerous clients on compliance issues. Binder Grösswang partner Johannes Barbist, together with Michael Ahammer of KPMG, is co-editor of the first compliance handbook "Compliance in der Unternehmenspraxis", published in 2009 by LexisNexis ARD ORAC.