WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 30,000 in-house counsel employed by more than 10,000 organizations in 75 countries, and NYSE Governance Services, Corpedia, jointly surveyed ACC’s membership base to find that while companies with revenues of less than $500 million were less likely to maintain formal compliance programs, risk and compliance program budgetary constraints are not confined to smaller organizations.
“The complexity of the regulatory and legal environments remains a top challenge for ACC members and compliance professionals worldwide”
The 2013 ACC/Corpedia Biennial Benchmarking Survey on Compliance Programs and Risk Assessments received insight from more than 630 compliance and risk management professionals around the globe regarding the prevalence of compliance programs and risk evaluations within legal departments at multinational companies. According to the study, while roughly 80 percent of companies with revenues greater than $500 million maintain formal compliance programs, companies with revenues under the $500 million mark were 22 percent less likely to have such programs.
Overall, topics covered in the survey include compliance department structure, board of director training and reporting, prioritization of compliance and legal risk areas, compliance efforts directed towards suppliers and vendors and alignment with the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Respondents were also asked to identify their organization’s industry, global reach, annual revenues, workforce size and whether their organization is publicly traded on a stock exchange.
Approximately, two-thirds of survey participants have compliance and ethics budgets of $150,000 or less, regardless of the size of their revenues. The survey also pointed out that 25 percent of companies with over $1 billion in annual revenues spend less than $50,000 on compliance and ethics activities for the year.
“The complexity of the regulatory and legal environments remains a top challenge for ACC members and compliance professionals worldwide,” said Veta T. Richardson, ACC’s president and CEO. “As a result, we are seeing companies offer training and resources for employees on ethics- and compliance-related topics.”
Among companies with formal compliance programs, 76 percent indicate their chief compliance officer (CCO) or general counsel sustains program responsibility and 39 percent of CCOs report directly to the CEO. Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents spent less than one hour per year on training for their board of directors. Of the total number of organizations surveyed, 41 percent conduct specific assessments, reviews or benchmarks of their compliance program.
An emerging best practice, demonstrated by 41 percent of survey participants, is to provide additional training to managerial-level employees on the compliance- and ethics-related responsibilities and obligations specific to their roles. Of those that do provide such programs, educating managers on enforcing non-retaliation policies and specific elements of the manager’s role within the compliance program are the most common training topics.
“Legal departments and in-house counsel will always benchmark and seek alternative ways to accomplish company objectives more efficiently,” said Erica Salmon Byrne, executive vice president of compliance and governance solutions at Corpedia. “By doing so, companies increase their awareness and understanding of ethics and compliance practices across peer organizations.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Respondents place a high priority on key risk areas, such as protection of confidential information (52 percent), bribery and corruption (47 percent) and conflicts of interest (45 percent).
- For the fifth straight year, compliance professionals named the complexity of regulatory and legal environments as their top challenge.
- The vast majority of respondents (85 percent) support anonymous reporting systems.
About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With more than 30,000 members in more than 75 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter http://twitter.com/ACCinhouse.
About Corpedia: Corpedia, an NYSE Euronext Company, offers a variety of innovative and user-friendly compliance and ethics solutions. Developed by experts with years of experience and industry insight, Corpedia’s diverse product lines identify and quantify key risks while also providing actionable tools for mitigating and preventing compliance breakdowns. Ranging from e-learning courses that reinforce key concepts though engaging interactions to advisory services that provide insight into compliance best practices, Corpedia’s solutions can be tailored to fit each organization. Visit us at www.corpedia.com.