UK - Whistle-blower protection is a vital part of an effective anti-corruption system for international companies, Isis Asset Management claims.
The fund manager, which specialises in shareholder activism, claims internal reporting systems are essential to catch the unavoidable slip ups which damage share-holder value.
Isis, which has published a guide for companies on whistle-blower protection, claims there are 11 key factors for success when establishing a best practice international programme of controls. These include confidentiality, cultural appropriateness and screening for malicious reports.
Isis - in association with international non-profit business organisations - interviewed 30 global companies from 10 countries and a range of industries for the guide.
Isis head of governance and socially responsible investment Karina Litvack said the drive for anti-fraud systems had been given a boost by a tightening of legislation and corporate governance codes in many countries.
She said investors had learned to their cost that “weak anti-corruption and internal control systems cost them money”. But, she said that there were still examples of these causing failures at companies all over the world.
Litvack added: “These failures all have one thing in common: plenty of people knew what was going on, and nobody thought it was their job to do anything about it.
“People have to feel that they have a stake in the company and care enough to take action by alerting the right people to problems when there is still time to protect the company and its shareholders.”
Litvack claimed that if investors were looking for signs of integrity and good management in companies, the existence of an effective internal reporting system was “vital”.
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