25% of UK risk experts fear bribery and corruption risks will rise

A quarter of UK risk experts expect bribery and corruption risks for their company to increase this year compared to 2021, according to a report from Kroll.

This comes from Krolls new ‘2022 Anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) benchmarking report’, which surveyed 700 risk experts from around the world. Just 8% of UK respondents expected risks to decrease and 66% expected them to remain consistent.

The report also compares the UK with the rest of Europe. European respondents are more likely to expect that bribery and corruption risks will increase this year (35% versus 26%).

UK firms are more positive about ABC, with 46% of respondents saying their programme is “very effective,” compared to 40% globally and 39% in Europe.

The report also found that 17% of European respondents report that serious breacheds of compliance are not met through internal investigations, over double the UK figure of 8%.

The driving factor behind the increased concern in the UK is remote working and decentralised management, with 38% of people citing this, followed by concerns around disrupted supply chains (23% and cybersecurity/ data breaches (23%).

Kroll managing director in the compliance risk and diligence Kevin Braine said, “UK risk officers are more optimistic in their predictions for the year ahead than their European and global counterparts, though it’s clear that some of the legacy impacts of the pandemic, such as supply chain disruption and remote working, are still major sources of concern. These changes will likely be with us for some time yet, so it’s important that businesses find a way to incorporate them into their ABC programmes.”

Regulatory environments, ESG and blockchain

The report also found that 48% of UK respondents said they have concerns about the regulatory environment over the next 12 months, compared to 56% globally and 46% across Europe.

A major area of concern in the UK is around increased enforcement activity, new global regulatory requirements and legislation and an increased focus on supply chain risk and digital operation resilience.

Its survey also found that ESG is a major concern of UK businesses, with 50% of UK respondents saying it creates more challenges than benefits for the compliance function.

Braine added, “The start of 2022 has been dominated by clear statements of regulatory intent on ESG and it is clearly a growing compliance challenge. Areas of concern around a lack of transparency or regulation, cost, a lack of standardisation and a limited amount of available data are not insurmountable, but they do need to be addressed.

“Fortunately, the UK seems to be on a path towards more standardisation and convergence; for many businesses, this can’t come soon enough.”

As for blockchain, only 14% of UK respondents say they use blockchain as part of their ABC programme. This is significantly lower than the global average of 24% and 27% in Europe.

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