By Anna Kompanek
Twitter Handle: @AnnaKompanek
I was truly honored to attend this year’s Compliance and Ethics Institute (CEI) in Las Vegas, and to present with my colleague Frank Brown, CIPE’s experience with motivating mid-sized businesses in emerging markets to launch compliance programs. Our session was one of the opening ones scheduled at 9am on Sunday morning (did I mention we were in Vegas?) so it was abundantly clear to us that everyone who attended was truly dedicated to the cause!
As we’ve heard throughout the event, emerging markets pose many compliance risks, especially in the area of anti-corruption. Local enforcement may be lax and bribery remains common in business transactions. What is more, under laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or the UK Bribery Act, it is not just the behavior of a company’s own employees but also the conduct of it suppliers, agents, and other business partners that’s of concern.
I truly enjoyed all the sessions I attended at the conference but specifically when it comes to discussions focused on anti-corruption I’ll highlight two: “Adequate Procedures: An International Overview” with Rossana Buzzi, Assistant General Counsel at Invensys PLC and Jonathan P. Armstrong, Partner at Cordery, and the advanced discussion group on suppliers and other third party engagement led by Jeffrey A. Thinnes.
The bottom line? Companies operating abroad do recognize the risk and are doing more to mitigate it, but not always enough in terms of investment in their compliance infrastructure as well as third party due diligence and training. At the same time – as Frank and I highlighted in our session – more and more firms in emerging markets recognize that to be competitive in a global market place they also need to invest in anti-corruption compliance programs.
CIPE, together with our local partner chambers of commerce and business associations, works with such companies in countries ranging Kenya to Pakistan and Ukraine. We provide resources and training to help them understand the basics of compliance. We were glad to be able to share our experiences and learn from others at the CEI. Many thanks again to the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics for the invitation – and we look forward to more such great opportunities!
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