Despite rising concerns about corruption, few companies are concerned about the UK Bribery Act, according to a poll by Deloitte.
Among more than 1,200 respondents to the survey, only nine percent said they are concerned about the U.K. Bribery Act, which portends to be a far more onerous and stringent law than the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Just 24 percent, however, said they changed their anti-corruption programs in response to the law's enactment, which went into effect last year.
When asked whether corruption risks in emerging markets has changed, 49 percent said the risk has increased, while 27 percent said they are unsure. Twenty-one percent said they haven't noticed any changes, and only 4 percent said corruption has “significantly decreased.”
The majority of respondents (63 percent) attribute the increase in corporate corruption globally to the financial crisis. Fourteen percent said there has been no change; eight percent said corruption decreased, and 15 percent had no opinion.
“While UK Bribery Act enforcement seems to be off to a slow start with the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office only having prosecuted one criminal case under the Act, U.S. enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act continues at a strong pace, particularly in its focus on individual executives,” said Lupe Gonzalez, director in the FCPA practice of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services.
Respondents agreed that the focus will continue to be on individual executives. More than half (51 percent) said they expect the number of executives individually charged with corruption violations to increase in the second half of 2012.
As far as violations against companies, however, the group appeared less concerned. Only 9 percent said they are concerned about facing an enforcement action under the UK Bribery Act. Fifty-seven percent said they are not concerned at all. Thirty-four percent said they are uncertain.
The survey was conducted during a Deloitte Webinar, "The Changing Global Anticorruption Legal Landscape.”