Poll: Few fear UK Bribery Act

The global financial crisis has increased corporate corruption risk but many business professionals do not fear the implications of the UK Bribery Act, according to a recent poll.

In a Deloitte poll of more than 1,200 business professionals fewer than ten percent of respondents said they are concerned about the UK Bribery Act.

The issue is of increasing importance to private equity firms, who as financial sponsors can be responsible for addressing corruption concerns at the portfolio company level. 

The poll revealed that under a quarter of participants have changed their anti-corruption programs to comply with the Act – a surprising figure as 62 percent of respondents said that the global financial crisis has elevated corruption concerns. 

The Act has made a slow start with just one prosecution, and preparations for prosecutions have been made difficult with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) – the government agency responsible for enforcement – in flux.

The agency is under new directorship and its chief executive, general counsel, chief investigator, head of anti-corruption, head of fraud and a senior policy adviser have all recently left.

Across the pond the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) “continues at a strong pace” in its enforcement of corruption from individual executives, according to Lupe Gonzalez, director in the FCPA practice of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services. More than half of the participants of the poll expect the number of individually charged executives to increase in the second half of 2012.