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Assessing Partner Risk

March 6, 2013

My friend Richard Cellini, CEO at Briefcase Analytics, recently shared with me an interesting piece of research.

We had been discussing the extent to which organizations accused of bribery and corruption may also be guilty of other regulatory breaches. Richard undertook a massive piece of cross-industry analysis to see what patterns would emerge.

Having looked at the risk history of 30,000 different companies, covering a period of 5 years, it emerged that 1.5% have had at least one bribery charge made against them in that period. This translates to 15 per thousand – but given their geographic diversity, it is of course likely that the real figure is rather higher and that many instances simply are not exposed.  The number of countries in which suits were filed is very low.

It is probably not surprising that about 20% of those accused of bribery face more than one charge. Of much greater interest is the fact that 80% of those facing a bribery charge also show at least one other serious ‘business integrity’ event. For example, more than 80% have been accused of breach of contract, almost 70% of patent violations, 60% face product liability suits ….


This is clearly invaluable data to any company assessing its potential trading partners, whether as suppliers or customers. The fact that such data is so quickly and easily available today also illustrates the fact that there is no real excuse for ignorance. It is a great example of ‘big data’ in action for the contracts and commercial community.

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