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Compliance Costs Still A Concern A Decade After Patriot Act Passes

Deloitte polled more than 1,340 business leaders to find out their views on the effects -- and possible future effects -- of the Patriot Act.

Deloitte recently polled the more than 1,340 participants of its webcast, "Global Fraud and Corruption: A Decade of Change," to get their views on the regulatory effects of the Patriot Act ten years after it was signed into law. Compliance costs, corporate fraud and money laundering emerged as key issues.

About one-quarter of those participants said they feel U.S. regulators will focus most heavily over the next five years on money laundering, terrorist financing and other areas related to the Patriot Act. In addition, 34 percent of poll participants said that regulators will place the most emphasis on financial fraud and corruption schemes such as insider trading. Respondents also said that the next regulatory changes on corporate fraud, anti-money laundering and corruption will be spurred by highly publicized business fraud cases (35 percent) and a continued global economic crisis (34 percent).

The biggest change resulting from Patriot Act-related legislation over the past decade is an increase in corporate compliance costs, said nearly half of the poll participants. This change is one that institutions are struggling with, according to David Williams, CEO of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services.

"A consequence of the economic downturn is reduced funding and resources for corporate compliance," said Williams. "While I don't think there are a lot of CEOs and board members out there saying,'let's try to get away with fewer compliance efforts,' many companies now have compliance risk management programs that are likely not commensurate with their organizational exposures. It's a risky game to play as the global economy continues to struggle."

Webcast participants included business professionals from the consumer and industrial products, financial services, technology, media, defense and other industries.

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