ANNAPOLIS, Md., Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- TRACE International, the world's leading anti-bribery standard setting organization, has announced the release of a new edition of the TRACE Matrix, a global business bribery risk index. Developed in collaboration with the RAND Corporation, the TRACE Matrix was originally published in 2014 to fill a need in the business community for more reliable, detailed information about the risks of public sector bribery across the world. Since 1977, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has prohibited companies from bribing foreign public officials, directly or indirectly, and other countries have followed suit with similar legislation. With steep penalties for violations, but limited resources to ensure compliance, companies need access to actionable information about the bribery risks they are likely to face as they operate in foreign markets. The TRACE Matrix provides companies with such a resource by examining the conditions that allow public sector corruption to flourish: (1) the nature and extent of government interaction; (2) the existence and enforcement of anti-bribery laws; (3) the degree of financial transparency required of public officials and civil servants; and (4) the ability of civil society to monitor and expose corruption. For each of these four "domains" (and related subdomains), the TRACE Matrix aggregates relevant data obtained from leading public interest and international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. Based on statistical analysis of this information, each country is assigned not only an overall score between 1 and 100—with 100 representing the greatest risk—but also scores for each of the four domains and nine subdomains. This detailed information can help companies assess the specific risks presented in each country and design compliance and due diligence programs targeted to those risks. "By providing granular business bribery risk information, the TRACE Matrix has helped us refine our internal anti-corruption risk matrix and to identify in which markets we will conduct in-person anti-corruption monitoring visits," said Gregory Bates, Director of Ethics & Compliance LATAM at Avon Products, Inc. "When we first launched the TRACE Matrix, we recognized the importance for the international business community to have a tool designed specifically for their anti-bribery compliance efforts," said Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE International. "Although there were already other corruption related indices, there wasn't one that addressed the particular bribery related risk assessment needs of companies doing business abroad. In releasing the 2016 edition of the Matrix, we continue in our commitment to providing the most detailed and reliable information possible to support the compliance efforts of the business community." Compared to the 2014 edition, the 2016 TRACE Matrix shows considerable improvement for some countries in reducing the risk of public sector bribery. Estonia leads the way; its overall score fell from 33 to 17, placing it among the five least risky countries, along with Sweden, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Norway. Other countries suffered considerable setbacks in their bribery risk environment, especially Syria, whose overall score rose from 73 to 88—one of the eight riskiest countries for bribery in the world, after Nigeria, Angola, Yemen, Guinea, Cambodia, Myanmar and South Sudan. The TRACE Matrix is publicly available at https://www.traceinternational.org/trace-matrix. View a 90-second video about the TRACE Matrix here. About TRACE TRACE International and TRACE Incorporated are two distinct entities with a common mission to advance commercial transparency worldwide by supporting the compliance efforts of multinational companies and their third party intermediaries. For more information, visit www.TRACEinternational.org.