17. May 2019

Swiss Global Compact Dialogue: Gemma Aiolfi delivers opening speech on "Corruption and the Swiss economy"

Gemma Aiolfi keynote speech

Gemma Aiolfi, Head of Compliance, Corporate Governance and Collective Action at the Basel Institute, gave the opening speech at the 3rd Swiss Global Compact Dialogue today in the Swiss lakeside town of Thun.

The theme of the meeting was "honest business is successful business". Gemma spoke about Switzerland's vulnerability to corruption challenges due to its unique combination of being home to a relatively large number of multinationals – some of which operate in high-risk sectors such as pharma and construction materials – as well as hosting most of the world's commodities traders and an SME sector that relies on exporting products all over the globe.

She noted that although the Swiss financial centre has undergone many changes over recent years, the risks related to corruption are still high on the agenda for the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and law enforcement.

Despite Switzerland's good score on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, homegrown corruption needs to be addressed in the private and public sectors with a proactive approach to addressing conflicts of interest. Meanwhile many companies, particularly SMEs, still need to develop robust anti-corruption controls to ensure they don't risk their businesses through bribe payments.