Peter Glanville talks to HKCCA members about the value of a sound compliance programme.

Hong Kong

Everything from sexual harassment in the region to US President Donald Trump’s mad tweeting habits were on the agenda for ACC Hong Kong members in recent weeks.

Confused about Donald Trump’s policies on … well just about everything? Hong Kong in-house counsel were treated to a Trump moment of clarity when Pillsbury’s Hong Kong office hosted a lunch seminar for ACC Hong Kong members on the latest critical sanctions policies out of Washington DC on 15 May, entitled “Emergency Policy Briefing straight from Washington.”

Pillsbury special counsel Aaron Hutman presented on topics including trends in international compliance, Iran’s joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) status, Russia sanction developments, the ZTE denial order, North Korea, and Trump trade policy for China and the rest of Asia.

Ashurst hosted a morning conference for members on 30 May, which began with a presentation on developments in bond financing by Partner Jini Lee, followed by a discussion on corporate restructuring in Hong Kong by Damien Whitehead, and a session on practical tips for drafting commercial contracts given by Chin Yeoh. In-house counsel from various financial institutions and corporates attended the conference

Following the new requirements on keeping of significant controllers registers by companies, which came into operation upon commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 (CAO) on 1 March, Stephenson Harwood presented a seminar to ACC members on 24 May.

The seminar began with an introduction by partner Paul Westover, head of the corporate team, followed by senior associate Andrew Carpenter giving detailed insights on the topic. The session provided informative updates on the changes of the CAO and guidance on identifying the right people with significant control within the company.

In-house counsel members from industries including media, technology, hospitality, retail & consumer, communications and financial services attended.

A seminar on 10 May entitled “Operationalizing compliance programmes and conducting investigations” was well attended by in-house counsel members from a variety of industries including banking, insurance, regulatory bodies, technology and consumer products.

Peter Glanville, senior managing director of forensic accounting and advisory services and Sean Lam, managing director of forensic accounting and advisory services from FTI Consulting, presented on what a good compliance programme looks like, the impact of different regulators on an organization’s programme, the benefits of effective corporate internal investigations, as well as considerations and actions when an internal investigation is instigated.

On 25 April, Herbert Smith Freehills hosted a seminar entitled “Sexual Harassment: A Regional Perspective”.

Daily revelations of harassment and social media campaigns highlighting the prevalence of such conduct are prompting businesses to consider whether their internal processes will effectively manage employee complaints and withstand scrutiny.

For organizations operating across the Asia-Pacific, this presents particular challenges, not only in ensuring compliance with the local legal framework but also navigating cultural differences.

The session covered the legal framework of sexual harassment regulations around the region and worked through a case study to explore how issues arise in the workplace and how to mitigate risk and effectively respond to sexual harassment complaints.