‘Bad for Business': In New Survey GCs Malign Impact of Regulatory Regime

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By Michael Greene

May 19 — A May 19 Grant Thornton LLP survey suggests that corporate counsel “perceive the current regulatory environment as bad for business.”

When asked about the impact of the regulatory environment, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of general counsel said the current environment made it “harder to do business,” according to the survey.

Additionally, respondents also said the regulatory environment “diverted resources from company's core competencies” (39 percent), “decreased profits” (29 percent) and “impeded growth” (21 percent).

“The sentiment of the corporate counsel surveyed is consistent with many corporate officers,” Brad Preber, national managing partner of Grant Thornton’s forensic and valuation services practice, said in a May 19 news release. “On the whole, companies have not yet found the right balance between regulatory compliance, growth and profitability.”

Grant Thornton's “2015 Corporate General Counsel Survey” compiled online responses from more than 250 in-house attorneys between March 3–17.

Cyber and Corruption Risks

The survey also found that many companies are changing they way they manage regulatory risks.

“The most frequent changes are strengthening policies and procedures (70%) and increasing education and training (60%). However, many are also engaging outside advisers/consultants (41%) and adding internal compliance personnel (36%),” the survey states.

Nonetheless, despite these changes almost half of the respondents (45 percent) are not sure if they are most effectively managing corruption and risk.

This uncertainty may relate to an apparent trade-off between the time and resources spent managing various risks.

“While only 21% of corporate counsel say their businesses have increased the time and resources devoted to managing corruption and bribery risk, an overwhelming 69% have increased the time and resources devoted to managing cybersecurity and data privacy risk since last year.”

The survey found that the top actions taken to mitigate cyber and data privacy risks include: added data security measures (67 percent), prepared policies and procedures (59 percent), conducted training (59 percent), and identified sensitive/private data(50 percent).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Greene in Washington at mgreene@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

The survey results are available at http://www.grantthornton.com/issues/library/survey-reports/advisory/2015/CGC-survey.aspx.