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With Survey Results Like These, Can We Truly Say That The FCPA Has Been Successful?


In this the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s 40th year, it is appropriate to ask the salient question of whether the FCPA has been successful.

Granted, politicians are known for making aspirational statements, nevertheless during the FCPA’s enactment Congressional leaders stated – among other things – “the legislation before the committee … would end corporate bribery” and “the goal [of the FCPA] is the elimination of foreign bribery.”

Yet, recent survey results seriously call into question whether the FCPA has been successful in achieving its objectives.

Recently, AlixPartners released its annual global anticorruption survey (see here).

I don’t think anyone is claiming that the survey is statistically valid, yet the survey does provide a snapshot of “more than 275 senior executives—corporate counsel, legal, and compliance officers—at companies with annual revenues of $150 million or more in more than 20 major industries, in February 2018.”

The main survey findings are:

  • 85% of survey respondents say their industries are exposed to corruption risk, with 30% describing that risk as ‘significant.’
  • 44% have pulled out or delayed an acquisition due to corruption risks, up 7% over the prior year.
  • An increasing number of companies responded that they have avoided doing business in a region based on possible corruption risks, with 39% reporting this—an increase of 5% over the prior year.
  • 66% believe there are locations where it is impossible to avoid corrupt business practices.

Survey results like these seriously call into question whether the FCPA has been successful in achieving its objectives.

See here for an approximate 25 minute video titled “Has the FCPA Been Successful in Achieving its Objectives?”


Another aspect of the AlixPartner’s survey that caught my eye is the below graphic.

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