Editor's Blog

Why compliance can be a Chinese puzzle
Wed 15 Aug, 2018 at 12:00 am

Meeting organisers need help to protect them against risks relating to operating meetings and events in destinations that are strict on local law compliance like The People’s Republic of China.

The solution must be designed to maximise controls throughout the end-to-end meetings process. It must help mitigate key risks associated with bribery, fraudulent activities and receipts and third-party money funnelling. Major fines and other penalties accrued by multinational organisations conducting meetings and events in China have attracted negative headlines in recent years. It has resulted in some companies becoming reluctant to conduct any meetings activity in the country at all.

Other kinds of risks such as insurgency, terrorist activity, natural calamities and political volatility also require safeguards in order to plan any MICE activity in destinations that do not have a consistent track record of a stable environment. For instance, Paris and Istanbul among several other cities, have established infrastructure for meetings and events but have unfortunately fallen prey to violence.

I believe that the focus of meeting planners should be to check the compliance norms of local laws, the ability of the country’s administrative machinery to allay the risks involved with potential external danger and the readiness for disaster management, all of which are intrinsic to the successful planning and execution of any event. For instance, the Hyderabad International Convention Centre’s security team is connected to and work in tandem with the local police and national anti-terrorist squads, as well as the Interpol, in planning any international event that requires the presence of high profile potential targets.

American Express Meetings & Events has introduced an enhanced solution for meetings in China providing support for both in-market clients, and global clients who want to conduct inbound meetings in China, while reducing exposure to risk.

Issa Jouaneh, senior vice President and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events, said: “China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and, for most organizations, conducting business there has become a business necessity. Our enhanced meetings solution for China gives multinational companies the confidence to conduct meetings activity in a compliant manner. The development of this enhanced solution was driven by demand from both clients concerned about conducting meetings in China and others unsure if their existing core M&E activity in the country is compliant. This goes well beyond regulated industries – we expect financial services, mining and manufacturing clients, as well as pharmaceutical and health sciences clients, to also see value in our offering.”

The solution provides an integrated technology that has a unique workflow for meetings in China, supporting a 360-degree compliance process and capturing comprehensive documentation throughout the process. Itemised invoices and receipts, as well as supporting paperwork on client requests, approvals and supplier engagements are captured to enable cross-departmental communications to identify and address any perceived risks as soon as possible.

An automated operations checklist also identifies any possible compliance blind spots. In addition, a mandatory on-site presence at client events in China to further support and ensure meetings compliance is necessary. The solution is supported by strict policies throughout the engagement including rules that limit high risk activities such as cash payments or excessively luxurious activities. Third and fourth party supplier screenings are also provided to help ensure compliance, as is compulsory due diligence prior to any engagement.

Meetings and events can be held in most thriving economies, enhancing the effectiveness of an event in the context of its chosen business environment for greater efficacy. However, playing by the rules, literally, is an unquestionable necessity.

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