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Bribery Act: 'Firms must take it seriously'


It's time companies start to take the Bribery Act seriously, a City journalist has said.

In a blog for CFOWorld, Ben Griffiths, the Daily Mail's City news editor, said in the rush to win business some companies can overlook their anti-corruption policies.

Mr Griffiths was commenting after a busy couple of weeks for the act, which was introduced last year.

At the end of March the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said the legislation had done little to encourage financial institutions to shore-up their anti-bribery strategies.

After spot checks on 15 firms, the FSA found half failed to mitigate the risks adequately.

More recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the UK, while improving its foreign bribery enforcement efforts, needed to be more transparent when it comes to handling cases.

"It's not like we haven't been warned," Mr Griffiths said.

"Businesses can face serious fines or even seeing senior executives imprisoned if proper measures are not introduced. But in the rush to win business the proper protocols can be overlooked."

While currently bodies like the FSA and OECD are "gently warning" organisations that they need to improve their anti-corruption strategies, Mr Griffiths warned that the new Financial Conduct Authority will soon be ensuring firms meet their legal and regulatory obligations.

"That means any failure will be reflected onto business rather than policy-makers," he said. "It's time to act on bribery."

Improve your knowledge of the Bribery Act - Jordans is holding an event outlining the legislation on May 29th in London. Speakers include Jordans' Paul Townsend and Gary Brothers from Mazars. Find out more information - and book - here.


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