The Russian authorities over recent years have been actively working on reforming antimonopoly legislation. Markets undergoing vibrant growth, the gap being bridged with western regulatory rules, the role of the antimonopoly authority being bolstered – these and much more have been summoned to encourage competition in our country. However, do all initiatives of the authorities as a result justify their initial aims of developing the competitive environment?

Receiving unclear signals from the authorities and becoming lost in the unjustifiably frequent changes to legislation, Russian business figures sometimes find themselves in the most real kingdom of crooked mirrors. At the same time, a lack of understanding of legal rules, resulting in breaches of them, can hit a company’s budget with billions in fines, trigger criminal investigations of its managers or, as a minimum, seriously damage the reputation of the infringing company.

If the law is amended, models of business conduct should be transformed, and in some cases so should the corporate structure. Business is obliged to adapt on the fly to changing regulation. To this end, the necessity arises to create an antimonopoly compliance system, which would assist with reacting as promptly and efficiently as possible to new signals and with reducing antimonopoly risks.

Several years ago, major companies started to practice implementing policies which were sets of rules unifying certain business processes. The overwhelming majority of such policies were aimed at reducing antimonopoly risks. However, a policy is only a small part of the possible system for managing antimonopoly risks. If legislation is amended, this may mean that there is a need to adapt the procedures put in place by the policies. Moreover, a policy does not in itself guarantee that a company will be able to react to changes in the external environment.

Business needs an integrated system for reacting promptly to a dynamically changing legal environment, and this system should combine several functions at once: identifying and analysing risks, devising and implementing a system for meeting antimonopoly requirements, and arranging for those involved in business processes to communicate with one another. Such a complete system for warning of antimonopoly risks and for minimising the consequences if they come to pass may offer a way out in conditions of excessive legislative activity, if business does not wish to fall under the watchful eye of the regulator.

On 20 June 2014 within the scope of the IV St Petersburg International Legal Forum, Pepeliaev Group  in association with Legal Insight magazine will hold an introductory session devoted to the topic: ‘Antimonopoly compliance: Reality or utopia?’.

There are currently more questions than answers in the antimonopoly compliance system. Specialists in the sector and business representatives are discussing whether it is possible to create such a system in practice, what the risks are of implementing it and the costs are of developing it, what practical steps have been taken in this direction, and ultimately whether business feels that such an instrument is needed.

The article was first published in IFLR Mgazine.