The scale of bribery and corruption in businesses has shown no improvement globally since 2012, despite the unprecedented level of enforcement activity that has been conducted in tandem with the introduction of new corporate criminal liability laws in that time period.
According to the 15th EY Global Fraud Survey, which involved 2,550 executives across 55 countries (including 50 executives from the UK), despite over $11 billion of financial penalties having been imposed by regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world since 2012, 38% of global executives still believe that bribery and corrupt practices remain prevalent in business.
In the UK, 34% of respondents stated that they believe bribery and corruption happens widely in business. That’s an increase of 20 percentage points from the 2012 survey. This level is also higher than the average of 21% in Western Europe, with Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands all recording significantly lower figures.
Respondents in the UK also reported higher instances of criminal wrongdoing, with 18% stating their company had experienced a significant fraud in the last two years. That’s above the average for developed markets at 10%.
Richard Indge, head of fraud investigation and dispute services for EY in the UK and Ireland, stated: “Increasing regulation worldwide appears to be having little demonstrable impact on corruption. The prevalence of corruption, both globally and in the UK, means that businesses remain vulnerable to significant financial and reputational harm. Management teams must identify and address the root causes of unethical conduct that impact their organisation, while compliance programmes need to keep pace with the impact on business operations from rapid technological advancements and the increasingly complex risk environment.”