Anti-Corruption Summit Prompts Firms’ Vow

More than 25 of the world’s biggest professional services firms will pledge closer co-operation to tackle corruption ahead of an international summit that is set to test David Cameron’s credibility on the issue.

Sky News has seen a draft of ‎a statement to be published on Wednesday which has been signed by dozens of global legal, accountancy and property firms.

The pledge, which has been signed by top executives from Allen & Overy, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Linklaters, Savills and others, will “deplore the damage caused to social progress and economic development by corruption”.

‎Its publication will come hours ahead of a gathering of global leaders in London aimed at tackling corruption, even as the publication of further data related to the so-called Panama Papers has highlighted the scale of offshore financial secrecy.

In the joint statement, which also includes the lawyers Herbert Smith and White & Case among its signatories, the ‎29 firms say:

“Our organisations play important roles in the global economy and the operation of the world’s capital investment and real estate markets.

“As providers of professional services, we each take pride in the part we play in helping to strengthen trust within society, and we recognise our responsibility to carry out our work with due consideration of the public interest.”

The statement, which sources said would be released on Wednesday morning, is unusual in drawing together disparate areas of the often-segregated professional services sector.

Its signatories will commit to “play our part in efforts to prevent the proceeds of crime and corruption from entering legitimate capital and investment markets”.

However, it may ignite further criticism of the industry given that many of the firms involved in the statement were creators of the labyrinthine offshore structures which have fuelled mistrust in global finance in recent decades.

The draft statement is short on promises of concrete action other than a promise to co-operate more closely by working with governments, regulators and professional bodies to address “the practical limitations of the wider system we currently work within”.

It will say‎ that the firms “will maintain robust procedures when we take on new clients, in accordance with our legal, regulatory and professional obligations, and invest in effective systems to support these”.

The firms will “prioritise education and training” and “foster cultures across our professions that refuse to tolerate corruption in any of its forms”, according to the draft.

Other signatories include Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, CBRE, JLL and Countrywide.

via Business News – Markets reports and financial news from Sky