Colombia: Superintendence of Companies defines new criteria to determine the companies that must adopt Transparency and Business Ethics Programs

In brief

On October 2, the Superintendence of Companies ("SS") issued the Resolution 100-006261 (the "Resolution"), by means of which it defined the new criteria to determine the companies that must adopt Business Transparency and Ethics Programs ("PTEE").

The Resolution is effective as of January 1, 2021, and expressly revoke entirety, as of its effective day, Resolutions No. 100- 002657 of July 25, 2016, and 200-000558 of July 19, 2018, that preceded it.


Contents

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What's new?

On October 2, the Superintendence of Companies ("SS") issued the Resolution 100-006261 (the "Resolution"), by means of which it defined the new criteria to determine the companies that must adopt Business Transparency and Ethics Programs ("PTEE").

The Resolution is effective as of January 1, 2021, and expressly revoke entirety, as of its effective day, Resolutions No. 100- 002657 of July 25, 2016, and 200-000558 of July 19, 2018, that preceded it.

What changed?

The Resolution introduced several changes to the criteria that determine the obligation to implement PTEE, but also included the word "Transparency" within the definition of this type of prevention programs.

Unlike the criteria in force today, the Resolution introduces the following four substantial changes compared to the resolutions that preceded it:

  1. Added that supervised companies that do international business or transactions directly, and not only through third parties, may be obliged.
  2. Eliminates the criteria by sectors, generating the obligation in any company that meets the defined thresholds, regardless of the sector of the economy in which it operates.
  3. It establishes a value for international businesses or transactions, eliminates the threshold of direct employees as criteria, and substantially lowers the thresholds for income or total assets.
  4. Reduces the implementation period of the PTEE from 6 to 4 months.

Who is obliged?

The Resolution defines that entities that meet all of the following criteria will be required to implement a PTEE:

  • Being a company supervised by the SS.
  • Have carried out directly or through an intermediary, contractor or through a subordinate company or a branch, in the immediately preceding calendar year, international business or transactions1;
  • That these international businesses or transactions are equal to or higher (individually or jointly) than 100 current legal monthly minimum wages (for 2020 they are equivalent to $ 87,780,300 COP, ~ $ 23,100 USD), and;
  • That the company has earned income or has total assets equal to or greater than 40,000 current legal monthly minimum wages (for 2020 they are equivalent to $ 35,112'120,000 COP ~ $ 9'240,032 USD).

What is the deadline to implement the PTEE?

Companies that meet these criteria as of December 31 of each year have until April 30 of the following year to adopt their respective PTEE.

Possible penalties for not implementing it.

In addition to the risks to which any company is exposed by not having adequate prevention mechanisms to identify, measure, control and monitor corruption and transnational bribery risks, companies obliged to implement a PTEE that do not comply with this regulatory obligation, or who do not do so within the deadline granted by the Resolution, may face an administrative investigation by the SS. As a result of this investigation, the SS can impose fines of up to 200 legal monthly minimum wages in force (for 2020 they are equivalent to $ 175,560,600 COP ~ $ 46,200 USD). This fine can be consecutive if the obligated company remains reluctant to comply with its obligation to implement a PTEE.

The existence and effectiveness of a business ethics programs is one of the criteria for the graduation of sanctions for acts of transnational bribery that the SS can impose (fines of up to 200,000 current legal monthly minimum wages -for 2020 they are equivalent to $ 175.560'600.000 COP ~ $ 46'200.000 USD- and debarment from public procurements for up to 20 years).


1 By international business or transaction is understood, businesses or transactions of any nature with foreign natural or legal persons of public or private nature

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¿Qué hay nuevo?

El pasado 2 de octubre la Superintendencia de Sociedades ("SS") emitió su Resolución 100-0062611 (la "Resolución"), por medio de la cual definió los nuevos criterios para determinar las sociedades que deben adoptar Programas de Transparencia y Ética Empresarial ("PTEE").

La Resolución rige a partir del 1 de enero de 2021 y deroga expresamente, y en su totalidad, a partir de su vigencia, las resoluciones No. 100- 002657 de 25 de julio de 2016 y 200-000558 del 19 de julio de 2018 que la precedieron.
¿Qué cambió?

La Resolución introdujo varios cambios sobre los criterios que determinan la obligación de implementar PTEE, pero también incluyó la palabra "Transparencia" dentro de la definición de este tipo de programas de prevención. 
A diferencia de los criterios vigente hoy en día, la Resolución introduce los siguientes cuatro cambios sustanciales frente a las resoluciones que la precedieron: 

  1. Incluye que sociedad vigilada que haga negocios o transacciones internacionales directamente, y no solo a través de terceros, puedan estar obligadas.
  2. Elimina los criterios por sectores, generando la obligación en cualquier sociedad que cumpla con los umbrales definidos, sin importar el sector de la economía en el que actúa.
  3. Establece un valor a los negocios o transacciones internacionales, elimina el criterio de empleados directos y disminuye sustancialmente los umbrales de ingresos o activos totales para estar obligada.
  4. Reduce el plazo de implementación del PTEE de 6 a 4 meses.

¿Quiénes quedan obligados?

La Resolución define que estarán obligadas a implementar un PTEE las entidades que cumplan con la totalidad de los siguientes criterios:

  • Ser una sociedad vigilada por la SS.
  • Haber realizado directamente o a través de un intermediario, contratista o por medio de una sociedad subordinada o de una sucursal, en el año calendario inmediatamente anterior, negocios o transacciones internacionales2;
  • Que esos negocios o transacciones internacionales sean iguales o superiores (individualmente o en conjunto) a 100 salarios mínimos mensuales legales vigentes (para 2020 equivalen a $87'780.300 COP, ~$23.100 USD), y;
  • Que hayan obtenido ingresos o tengan activos totales iguales o superiores a 40.000 salarios mínimos mensuales legales vigentes (para 2020 equivalen a $35.112'120.000 COP ~$9'240.032 USD).

¿Cuál es el plazo para implementar el PTEE?

Las sociedades que a 31 de diciembre de cada año cumplan con estos criterios tienen hasta el 30 de abril del año siguiente para adoptar su respectivo PTEE.

Posibles sanciones por no implementarlo.

Además de los riesgos a los que se expone cualquier sociedad al no tener mecanismos de prevención adecuados para identificar, medir, controlar y monitorear riesgos de corrupción y soborno y transnacional, las sociedades obligadas a implementar un PTEE que no cumplan con esta obligación regulatoria, o que lo hagan por fuera del lazo otorgado por la Resolución, podrán enfrentarse a una investigación administrativa de la SS. Como consecuencia de esta investigación, la SS puede imponer multas de hasta 200 salarios mínimos mensuales legales vigentes (para 2020 equivalen a $175'560.600 COP ~$46.200 USD). Esta multa puede ser sucesiva en caso de que la sociedad obligada se mantenga renuente a cumplir con su obligación de implementar un PTEE.
La existencia y efectividad de los programas de ética empresarial de las sociedades es uno de los criterios para la graduación de las sanciones por hechos de soborno transnacional que puede imponer la SS (multas de hasta 200.000 salarios mínimos mensuales legales vigentes -para el 2020 equivalen a $ 175.560'600.000 COP ~ $ 46'200.000 USD- e inhabilidad para contratar con el Estado por hasta 20 años).


1 ver Resolución en el siguiente link de la página web de la Superintendencia de sociedades: https://www.supersociedades.gov.co/nuestra_entidad/normatividad/normatividad_resoluciones/Resoluci%C3%B3n_100-006261_de_2_de_octubre_de_2020.PDF

2 Por negocio o transacción internacional se entiende, negocios o transacciones de cualquier naturaleza con personas naturales o jurídicas extranjeras de derecho público o privado.


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