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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

Compliance Program Rankings – What Factors Really Matter?

Transparency International’s July 2012 ranking of top compliance programs has European companies in the top spots. Many prominent U.S. based companies, along with Japanese and Chinese companies, rank amongst the lowest.

U.S. tech giants Amazon, Apple, and Google all rank toward the bottom of the list. So do Berkshire Hathaway, Bank of America, Verizon, and Goldman Sachs, while Wal-Mart ranks fairly high. I must say I’m puzzled.

The factors included (and excluded), plus the weight given various factors in any of these ranking exercises, are always the sticking point. Like the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that ranks countries by perceived corruption, however, the rankings take on a life of their own despite cautionary disclaimers by social scientists. 

Examining compliance programs of 105 publically listed multinational companies, the Compliance Program Rankings (CPR) focus on three criteria (methodology is explained at pages 7 -9):

  • public reporting on anti-corruption programs (including bribery, facilitation payments, whistleblower protection and political contributions)
  • organizational transparency (including information about corporate holdings)
  • country-by-country reporting   

As we develop the U.K. compliance defense, given its probable influence on U.S. and other OECD Convention nations’ enforcement efforts, figuring out which factors actually make a more or less effective compliance program is more than an academic exercise.

My questions for the compliance and enforcement communities are whether the TI report criteria include the most significant factors for effective compliance programs? How should the TI CPR criteria and rankings relate to any compliance defense? 

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