Responsible representation with respect to the public authorities

BNP Paribas has long engaged with the public authorities. It has done so with the utmost respect for ethical principles and transparency. In the aftermath of the numerous reforms put through since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and in order to remain an active participant in the public forum, the Group has decided to strengthen the governance of its public affairs.

Accordingly, in 2012, the Group’s Executive Committee adopted a “Charter for responsible representation with respect to the public authorities”, which applies to all the Group’s employees and includes a series of fundamental commitments to integrity, transparency, social responsibility and respect for great universal democratic values.

In accordance with this Charter (see below), the Group has, among other things, pledged to report its main public positions on banking and financial regulation on its website.

Meanwhile, in 2017, in accordance with provisions of France’s Sapin 2 law, BNP Paribas registered itself on the French repertory of the interest representatives, which is managed by the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP). The Group is also signed up on the Registry for Transparency maintained by the European Commission, as well as the register set up in Germany by the Lobby Registration Law (Lobbyregistergesetz) of 16 April 2021. Lastly, it reports to the US Congress (both the Senate and House of Representatives) on its interest representation activities in the United States, in accordance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of December 1995. 

Governance

Established in late 2012 to strengthen governance of the Group’s public affairs, the Institutional Affairs Department (DAI) in particular is in charge of ensuring the consistency and integrity of the Group’s stances with public authorities and to ensure compliance with the Charter for Responsible Representation. On behalf of the Group’s Management Board, the DAI assembles and coordinates the following committees: (i) Prudential Affairs, (ii) Recovery and Resolution, (iii) Group-ECB Relations and Group Supervision; (iv) European Public Affairs; and (v) French Public Affairs.

The heads of public affairs of BNP Paribas’s business lines meet each month the framework of the Public Affairs Coordination Committee, chaired by the Group Head of Institutional Affairs.

These business lines and functions are charged with conducting first-level controls of their interest representation activities in France and of compliance with regulations and internal procedures applicable in this area. Second- and third-level controls are conducted, respectively, by the Group’ Compliance and Inspection Générale departments.

Charter for responsible representation with respect to the public authorities

Article 1 - Purpose

Where its activities may be impacted by an initiative taken by the public authorities in countries in which it operates, or where it is consulted by these public authorities in respect of a new project or for any other reasons, the BNP Paribas Group may wish to assert its point of view, as any citizens have the right to do. 

BNP Paribas is a responsible bank, committed to serving its customers. Accordingly, it intends to make a constructive contribution to the democratic process by providing public decision-makers, in strict compliance with legal and ethical rules, with information to assist their discussions and to help them to take fair and informed decisions. 

For this purpose, BNP Paribas carries out representation activities with respect to the public authorities (hereinafter "public representation"), as provided for in the existing legislation, regulations and ethical codes.

Article 2 - Scope of application

This Charter applies to all Group employees in all countries. It applies to activities carried out in countries in which the Group operates, and at European and international levels.

Article 3 - Integrity 

BNP Paribas shall be listed on registers of representatives in jurisdictions where the Group carries out public representation activities on a regular basis.

The BNP Paribas Group shall:

  1. comply with the codes of conduct and charters of institutions and organisations with respect to which it carries out public representation activities (e.g. the code of conduct relating to the transparency register implemented by the European Parliament and the European Commission);
  2. act with integrity and honesty with institutions and organisations with respect to which it carries out public representation activities, and provide its interlocutors with up-to-date, reliable and objective information that does not mislead them;
  3. forbid itself to exert illegal influence and obtain information or influence decisions in a fraudulent manner. In particular, BNP Paribas shall undertake not to use improper pressure or to have an inappropriate behaviour towards members of institutions and organisations with respect to which it carries out public representation activities;
  4. not encourage members of institutions and organisations with respect to which it carries out public representation activities to infringe the rules of conduct that apply to them, particularly regarding conflicts of interest, confidentiality and compliance with their ethical obligations;
  5. comply with rules for obtaining and circulating official documents, and forbid itself to distribute them for gain;
  6. ensure that the behaviour of employees concerned by this Charter is in accordance with its Code of Conduct and with the Group's(1) internal rules  regarding the prevention of corruption, gifts and invitations;
  7. ensure that any external consultants who may be engaged comply with strict ethical rules that are in accordance with this Charter.

Article 4 - Transparency 

BNP Paribas shall make its approach clear: BNP Paribas’ employees and any external consultants who may be engaged must inform the institutions and organisations with which they are in contact about who they are and whom they represent. 

BNP Paribas shall also undertake to be transparent about the organisation and budget of the teams carrying out public representation activities, notably via its website. Their membership of professional associations shall be made public. 

The Group shall also undertake to publish its main public positions on its website.

Article 5 - Social responsibility

The Group and its employees shall undertake to ensure that the Group's public representation activities do not challenge, distort or contradict the internationally recognised principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which are implemented with determination by BNP Paribas: the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Global Compact, the fundamental conventions of the ILO(2) and initiatives of the OECD(3). In particular, BNP Paribas exercises its advocacy activities in line with its overall approach and public commitments relating to the environment and climate change, including its support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement. BNP Paribas shall also undertake to comply with universal democratic values(4).

Article 6 - Internal training and information

BNP Paribas shall:

  1. undertake to provide regular training to the employees concerned regarding best practices in public representation activities;
  2. ensure that all the teams concerned - directly or indirectly - by public representation activities have access to the Group's main public statements in relation to ongoing matters.

Article 7 - Governance 

The Group's employees shall not carry out public representation activities without the authorisation of their superiors. They shall undertake to report on their activities to their superiors and to the Public Affairs Department in respect of the most important matters.

  1. Global group policy regarding corruption (September 2011) and Gifts and invitations policy (March 2012)
  2. International Labor Organization
  3. The OECD's CSR guidelines, updated in 2011; the OECD's Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying, 2010
  4. The European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, 2000

Annexes

Main professional associations of which BNP Paribas is member, either directly or indirectly

France :

European and international level

Financial Data

Estimated costs directly related to representation activities in 2023 towards: 

  • the EU institutions: between 1,000,000 and 1,250,000 €
  • the French public authorities (“Sapin II” Law): between 500,000 and 600,000

  • the United States Federal Government (executive and legislative branches - Lobbying Disclosure Act): 615,000 $

  • the German public officials (“Lobby Register Act) : between 280,000 and 290,000 €

Economic and Corporate Notebooks

Several times a year, Public Affairs France works with experts from BNP Paribas to produce “Les Carnets de l'économie et de l'entreprise” (In French). These are in the form of a newsletter to French parliamentarians to provide them with insight into current economic and financial issues.