Compliance obligations and commercial strategy

About one year ago, the Mexican Congress passed a law creating the National Anti-Corruption System, aimed at combating corrupt practices at all levels of government.  Mexican businesses have started to implement new requirements to effectively combat corruption.  Not one sector or industry is immune to being exposed to corruption from the public sector.  It is estimated that 40% of Mexican companies have lost business to a successful bidder who paid a bribe.

Below is a list of measures that the best Mexican companies have taken to minimize the risks of corruption.  These measures make sense in any country where corruption is a concern.  The genius of these compliance measures is that they were incorporated in the business strategy rather than being pitted against it.

Don’t let the enemy in.  Implement robust screening for all employees, especially managers and those with access to company funds.  All third-parties should be screened, especially those interacting with government entities.

Send a powerful message.  Communicate clearly, unequivocally, and repeatedly your commitment to operate legally and ethically.  Train your employees and third-parties.  Your third-parties’ activities should be reviewed regularly.

Beware of the usual suspects.  Be suspicious of newly created vendors with seemingly incompatible or unrelated offerings.

Don’t forgive offenses.  Don’t turn a blind eye when violations are discovered.  It increases the likelihood repeated violations.  Foster a working relationship with local law firms and regulators to help you investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.

Be ready to walk away.  Sometimes, the business opportunity is simply not worth the risk.

 

Above are my reading notes from “Corruption in Mexico: Charting a course for success amid scandals”, by David Gonzalez, Ethisphere Magazine, Q4/2015, p. 28​

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