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International Regulatory Enforcement

A Cooperation Agreement Concluded Between the French Financial Market Agency (AMF) and the French Anti-corruption Agency (AFA)

While interagency cooperation agreements are very common in countries like the UK and the United States, they are less so in continental Europe.  The Protocol of Cooperation between the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA), concluded on September 16, 2020, is therefore worth noting.

The AMF, created in 2003, is a public authority similar to the SEC. Its role is to ensure the protection of savings invested in financial products, the information of investors, and the efficient functioning of financial markets.  Its duties include detecting and punishing various financial infringements (market abuse, insider trading, etc.).

The AFA, created in 2016, helps the competent authorities, and the people who are confronted with it, to prevent and detect acts of corruption, influence trafficking, misappropriation of public funds, and favoritism. Its expertise can be called upon by the courts, large companies, administrations, or local authorities. It monitors the quality and effectiveness of the anti-corruption measures put in place in public or private organizations. The AFA also has the ability to impose some administrative sanctions.

At this time, the protocol of agreement has not been made public. However, the communication release announcing the protocol refers to several measures. These include procedures for the exchange of information, which may take the form of periodic exchange meetings to analyze the operating procedures for infringements to probity and market abuse or discussions on the mechanisms for detecting and preventing the various infringements and the risks of non-compliance. The announcement also refers to collaboration on proposed legislative developments in the fight against integrity violations and market infringements, while monitoring the work of international organizations on these subjects. Developments in these two areas maybe particularly interesting to follow. Finally, measures to inform the public are envisaged through the implementation of joint training and the drafting of publications.

While not explicitly linked to the June 2, 2020 circular on criminal policy in the fight against international corruption, one cannot fail to observe that this interagency cooperation is totally in line with the goals and purpose of the circular.