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More corporate time needed on Code of Ethics

Newly released research from Deloitte & Touche LLP, finds that while most companies have taken the initial steps toward establishing a code of ethics, a limited number are actively monitoring adherence to the programs. In a detailed questionnaire sent to 5,000 directors of the top 4,000 publicly traded companies, Deloitte determined that 83% of the firms responding have established formal codes of ethics and conduct, but 25% are not actively monitoring compliance.

Further slippage can be seen in the allocation of resources to ethics activities. When asked if their company had an ethics officer (either full- or part-time), only 55% answered in the affirmative. However, positive data also emerged from the survey, with progress being made on several fronts. For example, more than 95% of companies said their code of ethics applied to every member of their organization, including senior management and board members.

"Our data shows that there are several business and operational challenges facing many companies who are working towards implementing ethics and compliance programs," says Sherrie McAvoy, National Director of Corporate Compliance and Ethics Consulting at Deloitte. "We believe that these challenges are not insurmountable and that corporate ethics initiatives will continue to gain momentum."

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