2014 Anti-Corruption Survey Results Issued
The Risk & Compliance group at Dow Jones recently released the results of its annual Anti-Corruption Survey, which was conducted in February 2014. The survey of 383 respondent companies — 80 based in North America, 145 based in Western Europe, 119 based in the Asia-Pacific, and 39 elsewhere — asked compliance professionals to evaluate their anti-corruption compliance programs and the top risks they face. Among the findings were:
- 82% of companies surveyed have in place anti-corruption programs;
- companies’ anti-corruption programs include the following elements:
- codes of conduct (95%)
- training (92%);
- due diligence of new partners (77%);
- partner risk ranking (53%); and
- partner training (35%)
- 72% of companies rank countries where they operate according to risk, of whom three-quarters use Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index to do so;
- 54% of companies say they have delayed or called off business endeavours because of difficulties in obtaining information relating to corruption risk; and
- 33% of companies report losing business to unethical competitors.
The complete results of the Dow Jones survey can be found here.
Global agencies ranked for their due process performance in investigations
Global Investigations Review (GIR) has published a report assessing the performance of financial regulators and prosecutors across the globe. For its Due Process Guide, published on 19 March 2014, GIR asked hundreds of investigations lawyers what they thought about the due process policies and procedures of 26 government enforcement agencies around the world, including public prosecutors, dedicated anti-bribery and corruption agencies and antitrust authorities. GIR was specifically interested in procedural fairness and rights of defence before, during and after an investigation, but not outcomes or other aspects of enforcement. The agencies also provided feedback on the responses they received. They were then graded from A+ to C-.
The top ranked agencies were the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), both scoring A. Respondents considered the FCA to be thorough during the course of an investigation and to present strong cases. The increasing use of attestations by senior individuals is being treated particularly seriously by respondents. None of the four US agencies included scored lower than A-. The SEC was considered to be one of the best run and professional organisations of the 26 assessed, although the Department of Justice was criticised for its low prosecution rate - the vast majority of defendants enter into deferred prosecution agreements or non-prosecution agreements, meaning that underlying legal cases are rarely tested.
GIR considered two other UK agencies in its report, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (formed from the former the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission). The SFO was given a B grade, the same as the European Commission Directorate General for Competition and France's Public Prosecutors. While the SFO was well-respected by respondents and considered to uphold the rights of those being investigated, the time it can take to progress an investigation and recent high-profile blunders (such as the Tchenguiz and Dahdaleh cases) have damaged its reputation. Respondents noted the change in attitude of the SFO under David Green and considered that he “expects results and those guilty of wrongdoing to be brought to justice whether the offence is self-reported or not”. The SFO responded that complex investigations are inevitably lengthy, adding that, "[u]nsurprisingly, individual and corporates are not always as co-operative as they might be. The SFO has strong internal mechanisms designed to ensure that investigations are progressed as quickly as possible."
The CMA faired a little better, gaining a B+ - a surprising result given that at the time of the survey, the agency had not actually come into operation (the grade was based on what respondents thought of the OFT).
On the whole, most European agencies scored B or B+, while the lowest ranked agencies were Chile's Fiscalia Nacional Economica and Colombia's Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio, both scoring C+.