According to the 2012 Latin America Corruption Survey, corruption is still a challenge for companies in the region, but improvements in compliance are being made. "The results suggest encouraging trends in the understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, awareness of offenders being prosecuted, and attention to compliance in the region," says James Tillen. "Despite these developments, the results also confirm that the adoption of compliance programs is essential for companies to avoid bribery. Companies cannot rely on the deterrent effects of local anti-corruption laws because of employees' lack of faith in their effectiveness."
While some respondents to the survey thought that enhanced compliance requirements may make their business "less agile" than those without such requirements, Tillen disagrees. "The reputation and viability of a company can be severely damaged with one corruption scandal. Although the risk of prosecution often drives companies to implement compliance programs, many recognize that compliance can result in other benefits, such as improved employee morale, attracting business partners who are seeking to reduce their own risk, and reducing the economic waste associated with a lax compliance culture, such as the opportunity for employee fraud damaging the company," said Tillen.