SOURCE: Global Technology Distribution Council

Global Technology Distribution Council

December 16, 2014 09:00 ET

GTDC Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Platform Offers Compliance Support

Unique, Collaborative Solution Streamlines Third-Party Due Diligence and Risk Assessment

ST. PETERSBURG, FL--(Marketwired - Dec 16, 2014) - The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) anti-bribery and anti-corruption platform developed in agreement with Hiperos and Thomson Reuters is helping distributors and other technology companies lower the costs and risk associated with protecting themselves against bribery and corruption.

The GTDC Anti-Bribery/Anti-Corruption Platform combines business processes and best practices developed by GTDC members along with Hiperos' award-winning third-party management software as a service (SaaS) solution and Thomson Reuters' highly regarded screening, risk assessment and due diligence services.

"Technology companies need to protect themselves against liability from third-party relationships with organizations that don't adhere to bribery and corruption laws," said Tim Curran, CEO of the GTDC. "We are excited to bring this platform to the technology industry and help companies reduce the due-diligence costs associated with compliance, as well as lowering their possible risk and penalties due to violations."

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have stepped up anti-bribery and anti-corruption (ABAC) enforcement, leading many businesses to reassess their own anti-corruption compliance efforts. Companies even can be punished for the acts of third parties, and it can be very costly to individually monitor compliance for all their business partners.

"Ensuring that you're performing the required diligence to know business partners under ABAC standards can be complex and expensive. A multi-party, centralized approach that lowers cost and minimizes the burden on your business partners, all while reducing compliance risk, is a welcome and innovative approach," said David Vetter, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary at Tech Data (NASDAQ: TECD).

The GTDC platform creates a secure network of technology companies and allows them to provide secure due-diligence information to Hiperos and Thomson Reuters. As additional members join the program, each company reduces redundant processes and costs by eliminating the need to vet and monitor the same third party multiple times.

"Bribery and corruption are very real in many parts of the world and any step taken to curb that activity is a positive one," said Bruno Grandguillotte, chief compliance officer at Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM). "We applaud the GTDC for being proactive in the creation of this program and their support to help companies lower the associated costs of vetting their business partners."

Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has resulted in at least 10 settlement penalties of more than $150 million for corporations in the last six years.

"The U.S. government has increased both its investigations and prosecutions of anti-bribery and anti-corruption. It's incumbent upon any business to achieve and maintain compliance to federal and international standards or face stiff consequences," said Melissa Davis, GC for Westcon Group.

There were 19 enforcement actions taken by the Department of Justice in 2013 and eight enforcement actions taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission that year. Through the first six months of 2014, the two regulators combined to take 15 enforcement actions. The cumulative dollar value of FCPA settlements in 2013 was three times the amount from 2012 and almost twice that of 2011.

"Multinational companies have a responsibility to know their suppliers and business partners around the world, and anti-corruption screening and due-diligence on third parties is part of that responsibility. Having a shared platform to help mitigate third-party risk is a significant benefit," said Harvey Woodford, vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer at Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT).

Many ABAC violations trace back to illegal payments made by third parties on behalf of an organization, which poses particular challenges for distributors, solution providers and manufacturers in the technology distribution channel who do business with thousands of companies.

"This is an issue that distributors take seriously, and the GTDC platform is a powerful tool to combat bribery and corruption on a global scale," said Carine Jean-Claude, chief compliance officer at Arrow Electronics (NYSE: ARW).

ABAC Expert Discusses Ways to Protect Your Business
For more information on ABAC, watch this video of Rebekah Poston, a partner at Squire Sanders LLP, discuss increased enforcement of the FCPA and what companies should do to reduce the risk and cost associated with anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance.

About The Global Technology Distribution Council
The Global Technology Distribution Council is the industry consortium representing the world's leading technology distributors. GTDC members drive more than $135 billion in annual worldwide sales of products, services and solutions through diverse business channels. GTDC conferences support the development and expansion of strategic supply-chain partnerships that continually address the fast-changing marketplace needs of vendors, end customers and distributors. GTDC members include AB S.A (WSE: ABPL), ABC Data, ALSO (SIX: ALSN), Arrow Electronics (NYSE: ARW), Avnet (NYSE: AVT), Computer Gross Italia, D&H, Esprinet (PRT.MI), Exertis, Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), Intcomex, Logicom (CSE: LOG), Officer Distribuidora, Redington (BSE: REDI), SiS International (HKSE: 0529), ScanSource (NASDAQ: SCSC), SYNNEX (NYSE: SNX), Tarsus, Tech Data (NASDAQ: TECD), Westcoast LTD and Westcon Group.

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