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Nine in ten execs back enhanced beneficial ownership transparency

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OVER 90% of executives support enhanced beneficial ownership transparency and recognise the importance of establishing the ultimate beneficial ownership of entities with which they do business, a report by EY has found.

The UK findings of EY’s global fraud report show executives are more concerned than many of their counterparts elsewhere in the world about the need for transparency in company ownership, with 98% supporting such calls.

Conducted between October 2015 and January 2016, the global survey of nearly 3,000 senior business leaders from 62 countries found that one in four executives believe that bribery and corrupt practices happen widely in their country, little changed from the 38% seen in 2014 and 2012.

The percentage was highest in the emerging markets, however even in the UK the figure is 28%. With the UK home to the headquarters of many multinational companies, the fact that the majority of respondents in 20 of the 62 countries and territories covered believe that bribery and corruption happen widely in their countries represents a clear challenge to business. Those countries include some of the UK’s most significant trading partners in Asia, Europe and South America, highlighting the risk to business about dealing with corruption around the world.

Jim McCurry, EMEIA and UKI leader of EY’s fraud investigation & dispute services practice, said: “Our survey finds that more than one in four executives in the UK believe that bribery and corrupt practices happen here, a worryingly-high number in a country that prides itself on its strong corporate governance. With the continuing enforcement of anti-corruption measures, coupled with recent revelations about the possible misuse of offshore financial structures, business leaders here need to be focused on securing a deeper understanding of their clients, partners and suppliers. Enhanced transparency is only likely to rise up the political and public agenda, both here and in the rest of the world.”

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