A majority of compliance executives in the U.S. and the U.K. say bribery and corruption remain part of doing business in some countries, although most companies have not abandoned operating in such countries, according to a new survey by KPMG.
Companies have chosen instead to take precautions that include improved internal controls, enhanced due diligence and employee training, the survey found. Approximately 73 percent of U.K. senior compliance executives and 70 percent of their U.S. counterparts say corruption is endemic in certain areas of the world.
Only 32 percent of the U.K. respondents and 25 percent in the U.S. acknowledge not doing business in those nations as a way of avoiding bribery and corruption risks. Instead of sidestepping certain markets, many companies have implemented risk mitigation programs that range from increased employee training about ethical cultures and doing the right thing, to enhanced internal controls and keeping a closer eye on operations.
Those that chose education and enhanced controls were able to enter and operate in more diverse markets, while others simply limit their potential. But expansion in some areas of the world is not easy.
“Companies that chose education and enhanced controls were able to enter and operate in more diverse markets, while others simply limit their potential,” said Michael B. Schwartz, who leads anti-bribery and corruption services for KPMG LLP. He noted, however, that expansion in some areas of the world is not easy.
The survey found that two in five U.S. and U.K. organizations with written anti-bribery and corruption policies do not distribute them to agents, distributors, vendors, brokers, joint-venture partners or suppliers. Three in five companies with such compliance programs that incorporate employee training do not require any third-party representatives to participate in the training. Nearly one in three U.S. and one in four U.K. companies require training less than once a year.
Three in five companies do not exercise “right to audit clauses” in third party contracts. More than half of the U.S. and 10 percent of the U.K. companies do not obtain periodic compliance certifications from those with whom they do business in other countries.
The KPMG survey also pointed to significant shortcomings in how companies develop, implement and maintain anti-bribery and corruption policies. One in five respondents said their companies don’t have communication and training programs. One in two of the respondents’ organizations does not have a committee responsible for overseeing anti-bribery and corruption compliance.
Three in four U.S. and three in five U.K. respondents said their organization does not have a full-time dedicated anti-bribery and corruption compliance officer. A third of the companies do not perform anti-bribery and corruption risk assessments.
In addition, while both countries now have stringent anti-bribery and corruption laws—the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010—the KPMG survey found that only 43 percent of U.S. executives said their programs comply with the U.K. Bribery Act, while 46 percent of U.K. executives say theirs complies with FCPA. In addition, nearly 80 percent of U.S. respondents said they still had little to no knowledge of the U.K. Bribery Act’s provisions, while 32 percent of the U.K. executives said they still didn’t understand the U.K. law’s requirements.
Finally, only 9 percent of U.K. and 13 percent of U.S. respondents said their organizations allowed facilitating payments. The balance either prohibit them outright or allow them to be made only for personal safety concerns.
The survey was conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom in October and November of 2010 among 214 executives who had anti-bribery and corruption responsibilities in companies with 200 or more employees and more than $300 million in revenue in the United States and £200 million in the United Kingdom and that were subject to regulations such as FCPA or the U.K. Bribery Act.
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