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EY: 20% of senior executives in Singapore think corruption is widespread in their country

FY Teng | June 17, 2014
In contrast, the consulting house's latest worldwide survey shows that globally almost 40% believe that to be true in their own countries.

Ernst & Young Solutions (EY) released on Thursday (June 12, 2014) findings from the the 13th edition of its annual Global Fraud Survey. The report it put out, subtitled-Overcoming compliance fatigue: reinforcing the commitment to ethical growth-essentially talked about the "concerning levels of perceived fraud, bribery and corruption across the world" it had found based on the survey of 2,719 senior executives from 59 countries.

The executives surveyed by research agency Ipsos on behalf of EY were those responsible for tackling fraud at their respective organisations, including the CFOs, Chief Compliance Officers, General Counsel and Head of Internal Audits of enterprises operating in various industries and sectors across the world.

Key results that EY representatives chose to bring to the fore last week when they released the report include the following:
* "Nearly 40 percent of all respondents believe that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country." This was contrasted with the figure for Singapore respondents-20 percent.
* 48 percent of all respondents think that cybercrime represents "a very or fairly low risk" to their businesses. By comparison, 68 percent of respondents in Singapore are of the same opinion.
* "Globally, respondents see hackers as the biggest concern (48 percent) and are underestimating the risk from organised crime syndicates as well as foreign states." In Singapore, the respondents "believe that the main sources of cybercrime risks are expected to come from employees or contractors (56 percent), hackers (50 percent), and competitors (46 percent)."
* Compliance fatigue has set in within businesses. "17 percent of businesses globally still do not have an anti-bribery/anti-corruption (ABAC) policy"; the figure is higher in Singapore-27 percent. The percentage of respondents' organisations that have yet to introduce a whistleblowing hotline in Singapore (42 percent) roughly matches the global figure (45 percent). When it came to having attended ABAC training before they took the survey, only 30 percent of the Singapore respondents, and under 50 percent of all respondents had done so.

Arguably the most disturbing finding EY shared on the day appeared to be more universal and had to do with the level of awareness of members of the C-suite about the risks they face. "[The] survey found that globally, they are less likely than their teams to attend ABAC training (38 percent) or participate in an ABAC risk assessment (30 percent)," EY executives said. "This is alarming given that these executives are apparently exposed to circumstances which threaten their integrity on a regular basis."

Even more worrisome, they noted, the top business leaders who are the most likely to face threats on their integrity, also appear to be more inclined than their C-suite colleagues on the executive team to tread grey ethical areas. "Twenty-one percent of CEOs said that they had been approached to pay a bribe in the past, compared with 10 percent of all C-suite interviewees," they said. "Worryingly, given their role in setting an ethical tone from the top, a significant minority (11 percent) of CEOs considered misstating financial performance to be justifiable in order to help a business survive an economic downturn, compared with 6 percent of all respondents."


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