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To deal with conflict of interest, your company needs a policy

by , 12 June 2015
When it comes to the conflict of interest, the solution might not be the easiest one when trying to solve a problem. But having a specific company policy will save you a lot of trouble, money and time.

Here's what it should contain...

Include in your policy that your company expects all employees to perform their duties professionally and honestly, and to act in the best interests of the Company at all times.

Moreover, employees must not use their positions or knowledge gained through their employment with the Company for private or personal advantage, or in a manner that conflicts or an appearance of conflict arises between the Company's interest and their personal trust.

So how can you deal with the conflict of interest?

Keep in mind that a conflict of interest could arise where a supplier of goods or services is known or related to a staff member, who is also in a position to make a decision regarding the procurement of those services by virtue of the staff member's position in the Company, thereby resulting in a profit/gain to the staff member and/or loss/opportunity cost to the Company. A person is 'known' if he/she is a friend, acquaintance, family member or other relation.

Here are four things to include in your policy regarding conflict of interest when it comes to outside activities, employment and directorships

Company employees should avoid acquiring any business interest or participating in any activity outside the Company that would create or appear to create:

1.1. An excessive demand on their time, attention and energy that would deprive the Company of their best efforts in their work;


1.2. A conflict of interest – that is, an interest which would interfere or appear to interfere with the independent exercise of judgment in the Company's best interests.

Employees may not take up outside employment or hold outside business directorships without the prior approval of the company.

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2. Relationships with clients, customers and suppliers

The company recognises that relationships with clients, customers and suppliers give rise to many potential situations where conflict of interest, real or perceived, may arise. Employees should ensure that they are independent, and are seen to be independent, of any business organisation having a contractual relationship with the Company or providing goods or services to the Company.

3 Personal investments

The Company respects the right of all employees to make investment decisions as they see fit, as long as these decisions adhere to the conflict of interest provisions of this code. Employees should not permit their personal investment transactions to have priority over transactions for the Company and its clients. An employee's personal investment decision should not adversely influence their actions on behalf of the Company

4. Contravention of the code

The Company regards any contravention of the code as a serious matter. At the same time, any suspected or alleged contravention under investigation must be treated with utmost confidentiality.

If employees believe that their own actions have, or may have contravened the code, they should immediately inform the managing director.  If employees suspect that another employee of the company has been responsible for a contravention of the code, they should report this promptly and confidentially, preferably in writing, to the chairperson.

As contravention of the code is a serious matter, it may result in disciplinary action, including the termination of employment. Certain breaches of the code could also result in civil or criminal proceedings.

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