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Regulatory compliance and professional ethics

An instrument of change in a new reality

One of the Bankinter Group's essential corporate aspects and the basis of its organisation is strict compliance with all legal provisions.

The attainment of business targets must be compatible at all times with compliance not only with the legislation in force but also with the best practices and standards required for its business activity. This issue therefore represents not only a legal obligation for Bankinter, but also an ethical commitment. 

This commitment also serves as a reflection for Bankinter's transformation into a cutting-edge institution that has adapted to the new reality of the financial services industry. Bankinter assumes the responsibilities arising from regulatory compliance not only as an obligation but also as an instrument to change the way in which it relates to customers and bring the Bank's business model into line with new financial consumption habits and the growing reporting requirements. 

In recent years, as a result of the economic and financial crisis, the entry into force of several highly complex regulations and the launch of the new supervisory architecture have turned the regulatory compliance function into a strategic area and have obliged the Bank to strengthen its available resources. 

The purpose of the compliance function is to assess and provide guidelines for the banking group's lines of business that help define its strategy, ensuring compliance with applicable legislation at all times. 

In 2017 the Bank therefore developed three basic areas of the compliance function: control and advisory services regarding regulatory compliance in relation to investment and banking products, and the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In relation to the compliance control function, a methodology was developed based on the risk approach that enables the risk of default in each area of activity to be assessed in relation to the provision of investment and banking services. With regard to the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in 2017 Bankinter strengthened the software tools used in this function and the training of its sales personnel in this connection, thus helping to consolidate the culture of regulatory compliance that characterises the Bank. 

The regulatory compliance function is integrated in Bankinter through an internal institutional framework that is first formed by the regulatory compliance committee, as the senior management body that monitors the Bank's policies in this regard. The committee executes the policies in relation to the regulatory and regulatory compliance matters that are established by the audit and regulatory compliance committee of the board of directors. 

The regulatory compliance function is also completed by the following bodies: 

The products committee. Approves the launch, modification or cancellation of products and services offered to retail customers. 

The internal control body. Establishes policies regarding the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in accordance with Law 10/2010, and ensures compliance with them. 

This organisational structure enables the Bank to adequately manage the risk of failing to comply with regulations, which involves significant reputational risk, with a potential negative impact on the relationship with customers, markets, employees and the authorities. In particular, failure to comply with regulations may lead to sanctions, damages or cancellation of contracts, with the resulting damage to the Bank's image 

Priority of regulatory changes

In 2018 the regulatory compliance area will continue to focus its efforts on the subsequent entry into force of the MiFID 2 Directive and its implementing regulations, the MIFIR Regulation (relating to markets in financial instruments) and PRIIPs Regulation (relating to documents with key information relating to packaged retail and insurance-based investment products), given its cross-sector impact on the provision of investment services by the various Group companies. This regulation, the main purpose of which is to provide greater transparency in the provision of investment services and in financial markets, represents a challenge not only from a regulatory point of view but also from the perspective of the Group's strategy, given that it entails the professionalisation of investment services and introduces significant changes to the structure of revenue arising from the provision of said services. In 2018, the adaptation to MiFID 2, MIFIR and PRIIPs becomes a priority and the regulatory compliance area will mainly focus its efforts on advising the Group on the adaptation work and on the analysis and decisions that need to be adopted as a result of European regulatory changes and how these changes will be transposed into Spanish law.

Professional ethics

Over the years, Bankinter, S.A. has demonstrated its commitment to a zero-tolerance policy regarding crime, having adopted all measures necessary to transmit this commitment and its obligation to prevent, detect and pursue crime in all its forms and in all its ramifications to all levels of the Bank's structure.

On 21 October 2015, the board of directors of Bankinter, S.A., in accordance with the reform of the Criminal Code, approved by Organic Law 1/2015, of 30 March, which entered into force on 1 July 2015, approved the creation of a Crime Prevention and Professional Ethics Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the functioning of and compliance with the criminal risk prevention model and has autonomous powers of initiative and control.

This committee reports directly to the board of directors on an annual basis through the audit and regulatory compliance committee. 

In 2017 the Crime Prevention and Professional Ethics Committee focused on the following activities: 

  • Approval of the Code of Professional Ethics for Bankinter Group employees.
  • Approval of the Code of Professional Ethics for agents.
  • Promoting the existence of the whistleblowing channel as much as possible and encouraging its use to notify the CP&PEC of irregular conduct.
  • Final implementation of the Criminal Prevention and Professional Ethics Subcommittee in Portugal.
  • Advances in the risk map: update of existing controls

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