OCTOBER 03, 2019

Compliance: Guidelines issued by the Anti-corruption Office directed to PyMEs (small and medium-size enterprises).



Compliance Department Report | Guidelines issued by the Anti-corruption Office directed to PyMEs (small and medium-size enterprises)

Dear Sir or Madam,

Argentina’s Anti-corruption Office issued “Guidelines for the implementation of Compliance Programs in PyMEs” (the “Guidelines”). They are directed to PyMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that decide to implement Programs in accordance with provisions of articles 22 and 23 of Law 27,401 on Corporate Criminal Liability. The 65-page document is still a draft subject to public consultation. The general public can participate in it through the web page “consultapublica.argentina.gob.ar” .

Specific risk factors for PyMEs

As stated by the Guidelines, there are specific factors that may increase the risk of corruption in PyMEs. For instance, they are not able to negotiate or strongly oppose requests of improper payments from functionaries or the public sector.

Six steps for an “adequate” Compliance Program

In consequence, the Guidelines describe six successive steps to design, implement and assess a Program: (i) top management commitment in creating a culture of integrity, (ii) assessment of the company’s inherent risks, (iii) determination of the level of risk tolerance, the Program’s objectives and specific actions and resources with which they will be pursued, (iv) implementation of the Program, (v) periodic assessment of its impact, in view of objectives, plus necessary improvements, (vi) communication to employees and business partners on the company’s integrity policies and procedures, on regular basis.

A glossary and formats to make its implementation easier

The Guidelines include a glossary to make their interpretation easier for PyMEs. They also add a summary of local and international relevant legislation on anticorruption and public ethic.

In what concerns the implementation of Compliance Programs, the Guidelines also provide patters that PyMEs could follow to assess their risks. In addition, they contain formats or forms that PyMEs could use to create internal documents. Specifically, to elaborate (i) a declaration of principles, (ii) a message from the top management, (iii) a conflict of interest declaration, (iv) an adherence to the code of ethics declaration, (v) a gift registration form. In addition, the Guidelines include a “sworn statement form on the existence of adequate compliance programs”, that companies that intend to celebrate certain contracts with the Government could be required to submit.

The Guidelines are a tool that cannot replace own risk assessment

The Guidelines provide specific recommendations directed to PyMEs. This is relevant because Law 27,401 requires Compliance Programs to be “adequate”. It is to say, in accordance with the company’s risks, dimension and economic capacity. For this reason, the Guidelines precise that recommendations are not compulsory and do not replace own risk assessments that each company should develop. Besides, these Guidelines could be modified once public consultation ends. Initiated on September 24, this public consultation will remain open until October 4, inclusive.


In Argentina, since 2018, companies already counted on general “Guidelines” for the implementation of Compliance Programs. The Guidelines directed to PyMEs are based on them. The fact that the Anti-corruption Office is elaborating such a specific document reinforces the importance of adopting Compliance Programs, also in smaller companies.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us should you require any additional information on this matter.


Maximiliano D’Auro