South African Businesses Prepare for New Era of Public Scrutiny as 77% Expect Investigations in Next 12 Months
The services sector and financial sector were the most likely to report experiencing regulatory or political scrutiny over the past 12 months (23% each)
How companies emerge into the light of day will depend on their resilience — that is, their ability to successfully mitigate the risks and threats
Companies Anticipate Investigations into Three Key Areas: Business Conduct and Treatment of Customers, Sustainability/ESG Practices, and Relationship with Public Bodies or Procurement of Government Contracts; 78% Believe Their Business Model Needs to Fundamentally Change to Maintain or Restore Competitiveness; 98% of Companies Are Actively Investing in Preparation for Future Crises, Including Use of Tools Such as AI and Analytics to Mitigate Risk
Download report: https://bit.ly/3GCIGL7
Socio-economic fault lines exposed by COVID-19 are creating an unforgiving marketplace, with companies under scrutiny from governments and the public and little room to avoid disputes and investigations into business practices and behaviour, according to a new report from FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN).
The FTI Consulting 2021 Resilience Barometer report found South African companies under “extreme” pressure to integrate technology (38% v. 41% globally), strengthen reputations (39% v. 37%), improve ESG/sustainability practices (29% v. 34%) and improve corporate culture (26% v. 29%) in the next 12 months. The survey of more than 2,800 executives from large public and private companies across G-20 nations found that 77% of South African organisations (v. 83% globally) either are being, or expect to be investigated in the next 12 months.
The investigation worries are: business conduct and the treatment of customers (21% v. 30%), sustainability and ESG practices (20% v. 30%), and the relationship with public bodies and government contracts (31% v. 30%). The services sector and financial sector were the most likely to report experiencing regulatory or political scrutiny over the past 12 months (23% each).
“At the dawning of the post-pandemic era, facing unprecedented technologic disruptions, rapidly outdating business models and the exposure of socio-economic fault lines — of which there will be far-reaching repercussions — C-suites confront a concoction of risk,” said Petrus Marais (https://bit.ly/3pUR5nb), a Senior Managing Director and Head of South African practice at FTI Consulting in South Africa. “Looming over this mix, exacerbated by rising unemployment, ongoing corruption and financial criminality abetted by cybersecurity threats, is the concern of new vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variants. How companies emerge into the light of day will depend on their resilience — that is, their ability to successfully mitigate the risks and threats through informed insights and solid preparation.”
The Resilience Barometer identifies the nature, severity and potential trajectory of these threats, which are forcing companies to embed resilience on more fronts:
- Growing cybersecurity threats: 74% (v. 78%) of companies surveyed suffered a cyber attack in the past 12 months, with a rise in phishing attacks among the most prevalent type 36% (v. 34%). Breaches are increasingly damaging, with 29% (v. 32%) experiencing a loss of customer/patient data, and a further 25% (v. 30%) reporting a loss of third-party information.
- Class actions and mass consumer claims: 10% (v. 13%) of respondents experienced these in the past 12 months, and 15% (v. 13%) expect this to continue in the next 12 months. A third (v. one-third) strongly agreed that class actions or mass claims are becoming more costly for their business, with 15% (v. 17%) of legal costs expected to be spent on settlements from class actions and other disputes.
- The “Great Resignation”: Over the last 12 months, 28% (v. 30%) of companies surveyed have experienced a shortage of talent and skills, and 80% (v. 68%) have reported increased mental health issues in their workforce since the start of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, 26% (v. 30%) are under “extreme” pressure to retain talent, and 26% (v. 29%) are under “extreme” pressure to improve corporate culture in the next 12 months.
“The ever-changing landscape will put the onus on companies to take a proactive stance regarding investigations,” said Calvin Isaacs (https://bit.ly/3w9x2CH), a Senior Managing Director and Head of Forensic & Litigation Segment at FTI Consulting in South Africa. “Leveraging new technologies and data and analytics can help companies efficiently manage an ongoing investigation and help mitigate the risk of future crises."
The FTI Consulting 2021 Resilience Barometer survey incorporates the views of 2,869 decision- makers in large companies across all G-20 countries, including 110 in South Africa. Large companies are defined as those with over 250 employees, or over USD$50 million in annual global revenue, or with a balance sheet of over USD$43 million. In July 2021, FTI Consulting conducted a quantitative survey with C-suite and senior managers executives from privately owned and publicly listed companies. In total, participating companies employ 58 million people, with each company employing an average of 20,000 individuals.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FTI Consulting.
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About FTI Consulting:
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 6,400 employees located in 29 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company generated $2.46 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2020. In certain jurisdictions, FTI Consulting’s services are provided through distinct legal entities that are separately capitalized and independently managed. For more information, visit www.FTIConsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook (https://bit.ly/3jYPRU6) and LinkedIn (https://bit.ly/2ZOlMQh).
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