The global anti-corruption landscape has changed considerably over the course of the last 10 years. A decade ago, anti-corruption legislation generally sat dormant, investigations were limited and enforcement actions even more so. Since then, aggressive enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) propelled many companies to adopt significant anti-corruption compliance measures. But the landscape is shifting again, and the changes in the next decade could be more drastic than those in the last one.
Before peering into the future, it is helpful to consider the recent past. In response to FCPA enforcement, many companies went from rudimentary or non-existent compliance programs to expensive, overly-comprehensive programs. Risk-averse legal and compliance teams often required U.S.-based employees with limited or no international responsibility to undergo lengthy corruption trainings, and third party due diligence programs did not always tier third party relationships based on risk. Compliance departments became viewed internally as transaction costs instead of informing business decisions, creating value and protecting the business.