On October 21, 2019 the Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter “AGCM“) has announced the launch of the WebRating platform, a new tool dedicated to companies for the compilation and the delivery of applications and communications relating to the legality rating system.

The legality rating is a summary indicator of the level of compliance of a company with high standards of legality, which is able to reveal the level of attention paid by the company to the proper management of its business.

Based on the AGCM Resolution 15 May 2018, no. 27165 containing the Implementing Regulation on legality ratings (hereinafter “Regulation“), any company that

  • has its operative headquarter in Italy;
  • has obtained a minimum turnover of 2 million euro in the year prior to that of the application;
  • has been enrolled in the Company’s Register for at least 2 years

may apply to obtain the legality rating, which consists in a score ranging from one star to three stars that is assigned by AGCM based on a number of requirements detailed in the Regulation itself.

Based on the Regulation, the basic score, equal to one star, is assigned solely to companies that comply with all the requirements set out in article 2 of the Regulation, such as, by way of example, that the company’s directors, managers, legal representatives, as well as shareholders natural persons holding a majority stake have not undergone any personal and/or patrimonial preventive measures or precautionary measures and/or any sentence of conviction for the crimes committed in the interests of the company, tax crimes, offenses concerning the protection of health and safety in the workplace and further similar crimes; that the company has not been subject to any sentence and / or precautionary measures for corporate administrative offenses depending on crimes referred to in the Legislative Decree no. 231/2001; that the company has not been subject to any resolutions by AGCM for serious antitrust offenses or certain unfair commercial practices.

The basic score can be increased by a “+” for each additional requirement that the company complies with among those listed under article 3 of the Regulation, which includes, among others, the adoption of protocols or agreements aimed at preventing and combating the infiltration of organized crime in the legal economy; the adoption of organizational models for preventing and combating corruption; the use of payment traceability systems even for small transactions; the adoption of self-regulation ethical codes issued by trade associations or the inclusion in contracts with clients of mediation clauses for dispute resolutions. Note that the achievement of three “+” signs implies the attribution of an additional star up to the maximum score of three stars.

The new WebRating tool allows companies to apply for a rating, amend the previous applications and apply for renewals – since the legality rating’s duration is 2 years from its issuance and is renewable upon request – in a simpler and faster way, in a perspective of transparency and mutual collaboration.

Generally speaking, companies provided with the legality rating can benefit from a number of advantages, ranging from the increase of the corporate image power to the benefits in the relationships with public administrations and banks.

In fact, under a reputational perspective, the company that has obtained a legality rating enhances its position on the market by being recognized by other players as a healthy and virtuous entity. Consequently, the rating assignment favors business opportunities and enable companies to stand out among its competitors.

Moreover, the legality rating assignment is considered an added value by the public administration in occasions such as call for tenders or assignments of contributions, and is also taken into account by the credit institutions in the assignment of loans, also with regard to the economic terms related to the disbursement of the loan.

To conclude, the adoption of the new WebRating tool is certainly an incentive to companies to join a rating system which has numerous benefits for companies as well as for market transparency. And, as a further merit to be recognized to this system, not only now the latter is easily accessible and usable, but the rating assignment is free.