Skip to content

Ban on Bain Sets an Important Precedent

Bain & Co, the Boston-based global management consultant, has been hit with a three-year ban from tendering for British government contracts because of its “grave professional misconduct” in a major corruption scandal in South Africa. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Cabinet Office minister, told Bain that the affair had rendered the company’s integrity “questionable” and that he was not convinced that it had taken its role in the scandal “sufficiently seriously”. Britain is the first western country to impose such penalties on Bain for its role in the “state capture” scandal in South Africa and there is already pressure on the US to follow suit. Rees-Mogg, who will advise all government departments to apply the same three-year ban, said he was particularly concerned at the way Bain’s South African division “colluded” with the regime of former president Jacob Zuma to undermine the country’s revenue service. The consultancy has been awarded UK public sector contracts worth up to £63mn since 2018, including £40mn worth of Brexit consulting work for the Cabinet Office, but the damage to the company will be mainly reputational. Other international consulting companies have been embroiled in corruption scandals in South Africa include: McKinsey, KPMG, UK public relations company Bell Pottinger, security group G4S and Deloitte.