Compliance professionals foresee increasing risk of bribery and corruption

BY Fraser Tennant

More than 50 percent of compliance professionals are expecting to be faced with an increasing risk of bribery and corruption over the coming year, according to a new report by the corporate investigations and risk consulting firm Kroll and Compliance Week.

The 2015 Anti-Bribery and Corruption Benchmarking Report – ‘How do companies navigate bribery and corruption?’ – is based on a survey of senior-level compliance professionals, 72 percent of whom say they expect to see the risk of bribery and corruption increase due to business expansion into new and unfamiliar markets.

Furthermore, despite 65 percent of compliance professionals stating that their businesses are likely to increase the number of their third-party relationships in future, 48 percent conceded that they never train third parties on anti-bribery and corruption matters – an “alarmingly high” figure, says the report, given the number of enforcement actions taken by regulators that involve third parties.

Recognising the issue with third parties, Kevin Braine, managing director with Kroll’s Compliance practice in EMEA, said: “While there has been phenomenal progress in the extent to which anti-bribery and anti-corruption issues have now made it on the training agenda for most large organisations, that’s still not really the case when it comes to training third parties.” 

Militating against this, only 8 percent of compliance professionals admit to not performing due diligence to hire or retain a third party, with the majority of companies employing risk-based factors to determine how much diligence they actually perform. On this point, the report reveals that 58 percent of compliance professionals rate their due diligence procedures as either “effective” or “very effective".

Further key findings in the report include: (i) more than 50 percent anticipate the bribery and corruption risks to their company will increase; (ii) 66 percent automate their anti-corruption program in some way; (iii) most automated tasks are limited to training; only 26 percent automate the vetting of third parties; and (iv) a majority (52 percent) are not confident in their financial controls to catch potential books-and-records violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

“Due diligence is really one of the keys to any type of compliance program, whether related to human trafficking, conflict minerals, anti-bribery and corruption, or anti-money laundering,” said Lonnie Keene, managing director with Kroll. “It is one of those elements that cuts across all of those obligations.”

Report: The 2015 Anti-Bribery and Corruption Benchmarking Report – How do companies navigate bribery and corruption?

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