26 Mar, 2012

Two-thirds of Companies to Reassess Compliance Activities Due to Dodd-Frank and U.K. Bribery Act, according to AlixPartners Survey


74 per cent have increased activities related to the FCPA; companies still face implementation hurdles


While many companies are committing more resources and adopting new policies to address the risk of corrupt activities and related new regulations, a large number of them continue to re-evaluate their anti-corruption programs, according to a new survey released today by AlixPartners LLP, the global business-advisory firm.


According to the survey of senior executives, more than two-thirds of respondents have reassessed their internal anti-corruption compliance activities due to regulations arising from recent legislation and rulemaking in the United States and abroad including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the U.S. and the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010.


The survey, which draws from general counsels and other senior executives from international companies across a broad range of industries with annual revenues of $250 million or more, explores the ways in which multinationals are addressing corruption risk by examining the confidence they have in their compliance programs and the extent to which corruption risks influence decision-making.


The poll also finds that 90% have implemented or plan to implement internal compliance training addressing anti-corruption, and that 74% have increased their compliance activities related to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the past year. 


“These findings reflect the fact that regulations such as the U.K. Bribery Act and Dodd-Frank are reshaping the way in which multinationals are addressing compliance,” said Harvey Kelly, managing director at AlixPartners and head of the firm’s global Corporate Investigations Practice. 


Implementing Anti-Corruption Policies and Compliance Programs Remains a Challenge


Approximately three-quarters of respondents indicated that increased internal audits, heightened audit-committee involvement in their companies’ anti-corruption programs and the establishment of hotlines for reporting corruption issues were effective at reducing corruption risk.  However, the survey’s findings suggest that companies continue to face hurdles when implementing anti-corruption programs. Although most of those surveyed have already implemented anti-corruption training, a third of all respondents indicated that they currently do not evaluate the adequacy of those programs or do not intend to do so in the future.


And, despite efforts to prevent corruption risk through employee training and due diligence of foreign subsidiaries and business partners, 46% of respondents said their companies had inadequate staffing to deal with training and due-diligence issues.  Also, 40% of those surveyed said country-by-country variations in policies and procedures were another roadblock.


“While companies are tackling these issues head-on, corruption remains a very serious problem, particularly in many of today’s rapidly-growing markets – ones in which many companies today are seeking to establish a stronger presence,” said Kelly.


According to the survey, corruption is more likely to occur in emerging markets, with Southeast Asia (83%), Africa (81%), China (77%), Russia (74%), the Middle East (71%), Mexico (69%), Central/South America (69%) and India (66%) perceived as posing the most risk. Yet corruption remains a concern globally, as 30% of respondents believe the United States poses significant risk. 


“Companies hoping to take advantage of the growth potential in developing markets should be mindful of both the increased risk and the costs of compliance in those markets,” said Kelly.   “The potential risk exposures associated with foreign subsidiaries and new business partners, as well as the need to appropriately respond to potential corrupt activities once they are identified, are real challenges that companies face in these regions, and any in which they do business.  In some cases, it may be necessary for companies to act proactively, as the costs associated with addressing these risks later may be much higher.”


Increasingly, compliance and prevention issues are making their way into corporate boardrooms as more general counsels and executives are including audit committees and boards of directors in addressing anti-corruption matters, the survey also found. 



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