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Businesses 'increasingly concerned about corruption'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 09/04/13

In-house lawyers are being relied upon to deal with the regulatory frameworks set up to avoid corruption, an area which global businesses are becoming increasingly aware of, according to the latest report on the topic from Dow Jones.

The catchily-titled Dow Jones State of Anti-Corruption Compliance Survey, launched at the Dow Jones' Global Compliance Symposium being held in Washington DC, interviewed more than 350 companies worldwide to come to this conclusion.

Naturally, we are not to assume that previous years saw companies happily engaged in fraud, bribery, larceny or other minor infractions. Rather, the report indicates that the globalised nature of business means that keeping track of all transactions and ensuring they remain above board can be difficult - especially when the legislation continues to be somewhat protean.

Of the companies represented, 71 per cent stopped or delayed working with a business partner due to concerns about breaking anti-corruption regulations - a jump of nearly 20 per cent from four years ago, revealing just how engrained this awareness has become for the majority of firms.

Rupert de Ruig, managing director of risk and compliance at Dow Jones, modestly described the company's report as a "unique barometer" for the changes taking place in this area.

"This year we've found an unprecedented awareness of anti-corruption regulation, and this is reflected in the survey results, with business practices becoming cleaner, more accountable and more process-driven," he explained.

Hopefully this will be good news for in-house legal experts, helping further shore up their position as key strategy-planners for the company they work for.

Respondents appeared positive about the change, despite admitting that they had lost some business to less scrupulous rivals over the last 12 months.

Some 56 per cent suggested relationships with partners have improved because of greater awareness of the regulations, while 54 per cent argued that complying with these conditions will save cash in the long run.