Why Financial Services Firms Need ISO 37001 ABMS?

When Société Générale, a global financial services institution based in France, agreed to pay a combined total penalty of more than $860 million for an alleged bribery and corruption scheme, it served as a warning shot to financial firms worldwide that a culture of enforcement has arrived. Société Générale was accused of paying bribes to officials in Libya and committing violations in manipulating the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), one of the world’s leading benchmark interest rates. Together with other regulatory penalties faced by the financial services giant, the total amount to be paid exceeds $1 billion. (The United States Department of Justice, 2018)

Bribery and corruption often go together with money laundering – and, as such, the financial sector faces new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and legislation that is strict and increasingly enforced. Remaining in compliance through implementing proper prevention controls is a must. Failing to do so can mean a loss of business, trust and reputation: Banking giant Citibank was fined $70 million in the US for failing to address shortcomings in its anti-money laundering policies. We at CRI intend on being apart of the solution. Therefore, CRI Group’s ABAC will be hosting a webinar on the 30th of September exploring the Pitfalls Most Organisations Often Commit – the importance of implementing Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS). Being a part of the solution means sharing our knowledge so society is one step closer to an ethical reality.

Register Here 

In the US alone, more than 100 bribery investigations were in progress at the end of last year, with the financial services industry facing the most investigations. (Wall Street Journal, 2019)

Having layers of safeguards in place is required both from a legal and compliance standpoint. One of the most critical layers is an effective anti-bribery management system (ABMS).

Prevent corruption and promote compliance

There is a solution that financial services organisations can implement to take a proactive stance against bribery and corruption: The ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard. ISO 37001 ABMS is designed to help global organisations implement an anti-bribery management system (ABMS), as the standard specifies a series of measures required by the organisation to prevent, detect and address bribery, and provides guidance relative to that implementation.

For financial services firms, this is a critical layer of protection that provides both anti-bribery controls and a system for compliance with various anti-corruption legislation, such as the FCPA and UK Bribery Act. The UK Bribery Act’s adequate procedures requirement dictates that all companies need to have ongoing monitoring, training, surveillance and risk assessments – ISO 37001 ABMS is designed to fulfil these criteria and more.

CRI Group’s ABAC Certification Services is accredited to offer independent ISO 37001 certification to ensure that an organisation is in compliance with the standard, which is recognised and practised in more than 160 countries worldwide. CRI Group’s auditors and analysts work with financial services organisations to develop measures that integrate with existing management processes and controls, and include:

  • Adopting an anti-bribery policy
  • Establishing buy-in and leadership from management
  • Training personnel in charge of overseeing compliance
  • Communicating the policy and program to all personnel and business associates
  • Providing bribery and corruption risk assessments
  • Conducting due diligence on projects, business associates and other third-party affiliations
  • Implementing financial and commercial controls
  • Developing reporting and investigation procedures

Our paid webinar will have a rundown of the following:

  • What are the core Bribery and Corruption Risks for Financial Institution?
  • How to protect financial institutions and corporations from bribery and corruption risk
  • Reparations from bribery that could affect the businesses, clients, and employees
  • Successful regulations to mitigate risk for bribery and corruption.
  • What can be done if bribery is detected?
  • Internationally recognised solutions laid forth by ISO 37001: Anti-Bribery Management System that gives businesses effective controls to mitigate risk
  • Components of risk management at a financial institution

We will also be exploring how the implementation of such a standard aids in examining and dealing fittingly with any actual or suspected bribery within the corporation and also how to implement appropriate financial, procurement and other commercial controls so as to help prevent the risk of bribery in financial services as these organisations face unique challenges.

Register Here 

Among them are maintaining proper internal procedures as they relate to bribery and AML regulations. These measures can be logistically challenging, especially in the auditing process – but keeping accurate books and records is a key provision of the UK Bribery Act. ISO 37001 ABMS standard makes this a key provision in cultivating proper due diligence and reporting procedures.

Another major challenge involves monitoring third-party risk. The due diligence practices and risk assessments implemented through ISO 37001 ABMS are critical in this area. Financial services firms, more than any other sector, must conduct effective vetting and ongoing monitoring of third-parties. This goes beyond “on-boarding” and relates to how companies continually assess risk from outside partners – including brokerage firms, introducers, agents, joint-venture relationships, even clients – as borrowers, for example, represent a major risk on the balance sheet.

Some financial services companies do not properly score or assign risk profiles to third-party partners, and this can represent a major weak point in efforts to prevent bribery, corruption and money laundering. Regulators understand this, too. That’s why ISO 37001 ABMS dictates thorough and comprehensive due diligence in regards to all third-parties and especially in the case of mergers and acquisitions.

Once certified, an organisation must continue surveillance and undergo a recertification audit over three years to ensure that the organisation still complies with the ISO 37001:2016 ABMS standard. During this time, any changes to processes, the addition of new partners and expansion/acquisition of new assets or energy contracts, etc. are carefully reviewed.

Long-lasting benefits of certification

ISO 37001 ABMS provides a strong framework for addressing and isolating risk factors, and the benefits of certification are far-reaching, impacting not just the primary organisation but also influencing contractors, clients, and raising the profile of the company as an ethical entity that is a good trading partner. By achieving ISO 37001:2016 ABMS certification, a financial services firm will:

  • Ensure that the organisation is implementing a viable anti-bribery management system utilising widely accepted controls and systems.
  • Assure management, investors, business associates, personnel and other stakeholders that the organisation is actively pursuing internationally recognised and accepted processes to prevent bribery and corruption.
  • If needed, provide acceptable evidence to prosecutors or courts that the organisation has taken reasonable steps to prevent bribery and corruption.

Cases like Société Générale are not isolated, but more and more, we are seeing companies punished for not taking proper preventative action with a robust anti-bribery management system (ABMS). Financial services firms need to be aware and stay in front of increased anti-bribery and corruption legislation given that such regulations have, in most cases, achieved a global reach. For ownership and management, the stakes are especially high – accountability now includes criminal liability for organisation personnel as individuals, beyond (and in addition to) liabilities faced by the organisation. This trend will only continue as governments, and their publics become increasingly intolerant of fraud, bribery and corruption. Significant media coverage and the real and perceived threat to governments’ economies contribute to this changing landscape of public opinion.

As the ISO 37001 International standard document states, “Conformity with (ISO 37001) cannot provide assurance that no bribery has occurred or will occur in relation to the organisation, as it is not possible to eliminate the risk of bribery. However, (the standard) can help the organisation implement reasonable and proportionate measures designed to prevent, detect and respond to bribery”. With this in mind, It’s important to note that ISO 37001 certification, on its own, is not a “safe harbour” from prosecution should bribery or corruption be discovered. Significantly, ISO certification is, as the above explains, a potential mitigating piece of evidence to regulators or even prosecutors and the courts that the entity has taken meaningful steps in its efforts to prevent bribery and corruption.

Financial Services Firms Need ISO 37001 ABMS

It is critical that any financial services organisation have a proper, comprehensive strategy to prevent and detect bribery and corruption, and remain in compliance with all regulations – on the local, regional, and international levels. The ISO 37001 ABMS standard is an established, tried and tested program to address those issues head-on through a comprehensive program of training and certification. The training process is tailored to the organisation while still following the developed curriculum and documented best practices. Due diligence procedures and risk assessments are applied in a thorough, comprehensive manner. Certification requires the demonstration that processes have been implemented effectively, with follow-up evaluations.

Worldwide developments in laws and regulations have demonstrated that there isn’t time to wait to implement controls and compliance procedures – the next investigation and/or prosecution may be too late. The harm caused by bribery and corruption to an entity’s reputation, investments and business can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

This paid webinar will be running from the following times on Thursday the 30th of September;

  • 08:00 to 10:00 GMT
  • 15:00 to 17:00 MYT
  • 12:00 to 14:00 GST

Your turnout with come with a certificate of Attendance (COA) as well as a complimentary webinar ABMS Awareness for 2 Pax per company. While you’re there, why not attain a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certificate and stay on top of your industry?

Register your place for this webinar here and find out how to tackle the issue of bribery and corruption in your workplace before it has time to manifest itself into a greater issue. Finance is the greatest asset to the economy after all.

Complete Registration 

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Top 10 Bribery & Corruption Stories of 2020

Even with much of the world under partial lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been no shortage of bribery and corruption cases through the first half of 2020. Each of these stories makes it clear that organisations must have proper controls in place to prevent bribery and corruption. ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems standard provides a comprehensive approach to mitigating bribery and corruption risk.

Organisations of all sizes and industries should take steps now to ensure that they don’t end up on a future list of top bribery and corruption scandals. Due to last year’s “Top 10 Bribery and Corruption Cases of 2019” successful article we decided to compile a 2020 list too. In no particular order, ABAC® Center of Excellence collated the top bribery and corruption stories we’ve seen so far in 2020.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the top bribery and corruption stories we’ve seen so far in 2020.

#10. Airbus

In February, French-based Airbus agreed to pay a record $4 billion in fines for alleged bribery and corruption spanning at least 15 years. The company reached a plea bargain with prosecutors in Britain, France and the United States. According to prosecution documents, Airbus used a global network of agents or middlemen for corrupt transactions, included payouts disguised as commissions to push airplane sales.

“Fallout from the Airbus bribery scandal reverberated around the world on Monday as the head of one of its top buyers temporarily stood down and investigations were launched in countries aggrieved at being dragged into the increasingly political row.” (Reuters, 2020)

#9. Novartis

While the investigation into suspected corruption at Novartis began seven years ago, it appears that 2020 is the year the company can finally close this damaging chapter in its history. The resolution comes at a steep cost. The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company will pay a staggering $1.3 billion in a settlement for kickbacks, bribery and price-fixing.

“The latest settlements cover two different cases. In the first, federal prosecutors claim Novartis used ‘tens of thousands of’ speaker programs and events — some entailing exorbitant meals — as disguise to provide bribes to doctors. The goal, according to prosecutors, was to encourage doctors to prescribe its drugs, including Lotrel, Valturna, Starlix, Tekturna, Tekamlo, Diovan and Exforge.” (Fierce Pharma, 2020)

#8. Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

While political corruption is nothing new, his constituents were nevertheless shocked when Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested, along with four alleged co-conspirators, as part of a $60 million racketeering and bribery investigation. The alleged scheme is being described as one of the biggest public corruption cases in Ohio, U.S. history.

“All the charges are tied to what federal prosecutors said was a criminal enterprise dedicated to securing a bailout for two nuclear power plants in northern Ohio owned by FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron. The bailout is expected to cost the state’s utility ratepayers $1 billion.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2020)

#7. Alexion Pharmaceuticals

Charged by the SEC with violating the FCPA by bribing officials in Turkey and Russia, Alexion Pharmaceuticals will pay $21.4 million to resolve an investigation that began in 2015. The Connecticut, U.S.- based company was also accused of failing to keep accurate financial records at subsidiaries in Brazil and Colombia.

“In Turkey and Russia, Alexion paid government officials and doctors at state-connected hospitals to promote use of its blood-disease drug, Soliris. Alexion retained a consultant in Turkey from 2010 to 2015 with ties to health officials. Alexion Turkey paid the consultant over $1.3 million for ‘consulting fees and purported expense reimbursements,’ the SEC said. … In Russia, Alexion paid doctors at government hospitals over $1 million from 2011 to 2015 to increase Soliris prescriptions. … The bribery resulted in Alexion being ‘unjustly enriched’ by about $6.6 million in Turkey and $7.5 million in Russia, the SEC said.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#6. Taiwan Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan

In Taiwan, a scandal embroiling some top legislators prompted Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan to resign from office. Su Jia-chyuan’s nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching, is reportedly under investigation in a bribery case related to the ownership of a department store. Su Jia-chyuan said he has “nothing to hide” and insisted he is stepping down to avoid letting the controversy continue to affect the president.

“Taipei prosecutors on Saturday filed a motion to detain Su Chen-ching, along with four other former and incumbent lawmakers as part of an investigation into bribery allegations against six current and former legislators and their aides. The court hearing on whether to grant the prosecutors’ request to detain them was ongoing as of press time last night. The DPP’s anti-corruption committee convened a meeting at 8 pm to discuss the penalties for Su Chen-ching and former legislator Mark Chen, who has also been implicated in the case and was released on NT$500,000 bail early on Saturday.” (Taipei Times, 2020)

#5. Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak

As part of the 1MDB corruption scandal, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was convicted on seven counts for charges that include money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust. Investigators said he transferred about $10 million from a 1MDB affiliate to his own bank accounts, and the Malaysian High Court agreed. Razak was forced out of office in 2018 during the scandal.

“In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that Najib deposited about $700 million from 1MDB into his personal accounts. He has always denied the allegations. He faces more trials in Malaysia on at least 35 additional corruption charges. The judge Tuesday imposed a 12-year prison sentence on Najib, 67, but suspended it during any appeals.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#4. Alstom

A multi-year, multi-million-dollar bribery and money laundering investigation involving Alstom Indonesia resulted in more indictments this year. Reza Moenaf, former president, and Eko Sulianto, former director of sales, for Alstom Indonesia were charged along with a former deputy general manager of Marubeni Corporation’s overseas power project department. They are accused by the U.S. Justice Department of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“According to the Justice Department, Kusunoki, Moenaf, and Sulianto engaged in a conspiracy to pay bribes to officials in Indonesia — including a high-ranking member of the Indonesian Parliament and the president of Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company in Indonesia — in exchange for assistance in securing a $118 million contract, known as the Tarahan Project, for Alstom Power and its consortium partner, Marubeni, to provide power-related services for Indonesian citizens.” (Compliance Week, 2020)

#3. Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar

Corruption in local politics is still a major issue, especially in a major city like Los Angeles, U.S.  That’s where City Councilman Jose Huizar is alleged to have engaged in a wide array of bribery and corruption acts to enrich himself and his associates. He now faces a laundry list of charges after a federal grand jury returned a 34-count indictment against Huizar.

“Huizar was charged last month with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Thursday’s indictment charges Huizar with the following criminal charges: 12 counts of honest services wire fraud; two counts of honest services mail fraud; four counts of traveling interstate in aid of racketeering; six counts of bribery; five counts of money laundering; one count of structuring cash deposits to conceal bribes; one count of making a false statement to a financial institution; one count of making false statements to federal law enforcement; and one count of tax evasion, according to prosecutors.” (CBS News, 2020)

#2. Asante Berko, Former Goldman Sachs Executive

Former Goldman Sachs executive Asante Berko was charged by the SEC as a result of their investigation into his alleged bribery plot. Berko is accused of FCPA violations in his effort to help an energy company based in Turkey secure a contract for a power plant in Ghana. He was charged in a civil complaint in New York, U.S., for “aiding and abetting violations of the FCPA anti-bribery provisions.”

“According to the SEC, Berko helped the Turkish energy company pay at least $2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary, ‘all or most of which was used to bribe Ghanaian government officials’ to secure approval of an electrical power plant project. … In 2015, Berko negotiated a contract for the Turkish energy company to pay the intermediary $2.5 million at first, and up to $42 million over five years, the complaint said.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#1. Cardinal Health

Ohio, U.S.-based Cardinal Health paid the SEC $8.8 million Friday to settle FCPA offenses related to a Chinese subsidiary that provided marketing services. Cardinal Health allegedly violated provisions for maintaining books and records, as well as internal accounting controls. Cardinal Health first began doing business in China after acquiring an existing company and rebranding it. It appears the company made voluntary disclosures and has been taking proactive steps to address the corruption issues in its ranks.

“In 2016, Cardinal China learned that the marketing employees and the dermocosmetic company had disguised some ‘marketing payments’ that were funneled to healthcare professionals who provided marketing services, as well as other employees of state-owned retail entities. The state-owned entities had influence over purchasing decisions related to the dermocosmetic company’s products. Cardinal took steps to stop the suspect payments in 2016 when it learned about the misconduct, the SEC said. In December 2016, Cardinal voluntarily disclosed the results of its internal investigation to the SEC.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. Contact us today to get started on implementing a robust program that will serve you well for years to come. Get your FREE QUOTE now!

We Welcome You To Have Free Gap Analysis of Highest Ethical Business Survey: prove that your business is ethical. Complete our FREE Highest Ethical Business Assessment (HEBA) and evaluate your current Corporate Compliance Program.

TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

Find out if your organisation’s compliance program is in the line with worldwide Compliance, Business Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Frameworks. Let ABAC® experts prepare a complimentary gap analysis of your compliance program to evaluate if it meets “adequate procedures” requirements under UK Bribery Act, DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The HEBA survey is designed to evaluate your compliance with the adequate procedures to prevent bribery and corruption across the organisation. This survey is monitored and evaluated by qualified ABAC® professionals with Business Ethics, Legal and Compliance background. The questions are open-ended to encourage a qualitative analysis of your Compliance Program and to facilitate the gap analysis process.

TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete. ABAC® is powered by CRI Group – this GAP analysis will be performed by ABAC®

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue Diligence and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Stay tuned for Part 2 or follow us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter for more industry news and insights.

The Role of a Fraud Investigator

Fraud investigators are the front line of establishing the facts of suspected fraud or other unethical business behaviour. A fraud investigator’s skillset and wide knowledge of fraud laws, evidence gathering and interviewing make them the go-to expert for investigating insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas.

A fraud investigator can either be part of a team of experienced investigators, or the leader of such a team. If part of a team, the fraud investigator generally works with the other team members to handle reports of suspicious activity. If in charge of a team, the fraud investigator would typically report to the head of a department, such as corporate security, compliance or audit. A fraud investigations manager at a typical retail business, for example, would be responsible for the day-to-day monitoring, investigation and resolution of fraudulent activity relating to delays in the repayment and refunds processes. They will take the lead on the implementation of strategies to prevent fraud and financial crime, thereby mitigating risk to the business.

Fraud Investigator Key Functions

Fraud investigators provide subject matter expertise on claims and associated fraud risks, helping to ensure effective resolution of investigations. The effective fraud investigator adheres to relevant security standards, internal and external procedures and legislative requirements. Their role often involves developing and maintaining close working relationships with relevant law enforcement agencies, ensuring that cases are developed and prosecuted to a criminal standard.

When working with an organisation in a preventative fashion, a fraud investigator will perform fraud risk assessments across the business relating to both external and internal threats; implementing mitigation measures as required. They also build appropriate fraud prevention and detection processes and implement them. Some fraud investigators manage the day-to-day operation of an expanding fraud team, ensuring that KPIs are met and regular reports produced for the management team. In this capacity, they will also work closely with the senior management team to ensure that operational capacity is correctly aligned to combat a variety of fraud types.

Here are some of the other key functions performed by fraud investigators:

  • Evaluate potential fraud indicators and the impact of current fraud trends and make recommendations as to appropriate mitigation.
  • Conducting investigations into allegations of fraud, waste or abuse committed by clients against our company
  • Reviewing and researching evidence/documents to analyse the overall fact pattern of a claim and synthesise data into a professional report with recommendations
  • Preparing and coordinating field assignments to obtain relevant evidence and information
  • Conduct objective, fair, thorough, unbiased and timely investigations into allegations of fraud, waste or abuse committed by clients against our company
  • Review and research evidence/documents to analyse the overall fact pattern of a claim and synthesise data into a professional report with recommendations
  • Prepare and coordinate field assignments to obtain relevant evidence and information
  • Coordinate with defence attorneys to provide deposition strategies and use law enforcement resources for assistance
  • Manage and prioritise a large and varied caseload effectively and efficiently to achieve positive results
  • Prepare prosecution packages and restitution proposals.

Responsibilities

As a fraud investigator often wears many different hats, they also have many ongoing responsibilities. These include monitoring transaction reports to identify any suspicious transactions and conducting detailed investigations as required. They must also proactively identify financial crime trends through data analysis and share findings with leadership as and when needed. A few other responsibilities of a fraud investigator include:

  • Working to a high standard, meeting strict time-frames whilst working under pressure.
  • Communicating directly with customers as part of ongoing fraud investigations through in-app messages or via telephony with potential victims of fraud to establish circumstances and additional information, before providing a fair and logical decision, with supporting rationale.
  • Work as part of a team and supporting colleagues as and when required to reduce workload(s).

Personality Traits of a Fraud Investigator

There are some common traits among the most successful fraud investigators. This includes being a self-starter who is results-driven with high levels of self-motivation, energy and initiative. An effective fraud investigator has a proven ability to work under pressure to and meet tight deadlines, without compromising the quality of output. One key trait that can’t be overlooked is the ability to be an effective communicator – a fraud investigator must have excellent written and verbal skills. Here are some other key traits among successful fraud investigators:

  • An ability to thrive under pressure amidst changing business priorities
  • Effective cost management and analytical integrity
  • Experience in leading and developing a team
  • Keen interest in stopping fraud whilst considering the impact of how an investigation can impact customers

Knowledge and Skills

A successful fraud investigator brings to the table a broad range of security/ fraud detection and prevention experience. A fraud investigator must be a subject matter expert on fraud for their related field, such as insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas.

Many fraud investigators have specialised skills such as:

  • Experience of interviewing in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act following the PACE framework.
  • Strong knowledge of cyber risk and common fraud typologies, along with the emerging trends affecting fraud and financial crime.
  • Familiarity with key AML, TF, Financial Crime and Sanctions legislation and associated Regulatory Guidance.
  • Demonstrated experience working with customers on fraud prevention and detection strategies.
  • Sound understanding of the customer impact of a transaction monitoring system; able to balance fraud prevention with the need to provide an excellent customer experience.

As previously mentioned, an effective fraud investigator must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to interact with clients, upper management and law enforcement. They also need to have an ingenuity and persistence to obtain case information not readily available with an eye for detail. Dealing with various different cases and different types of evidence requires strong organisational skills. For insurance fraud, investigators must be proficient with the insurance procedures, regulations and investigation methods

Perhaps most important, fraud investigators must set a positive example for their colleagues. They need to be honest and ethical, with high levels of integrity and confidentiality.

A fraud investigator has many different responsibilities, and the role requires an individual with some specific traits. CRI Group’s fraud investigators are experts at uncovering the facts and evidence of a case, but they also implement proactive anti-fraud measures to help an organisation be better protected against future incidence of fraud. Fraud investigators specialise in insurance fraud, financial fraud, procurement fraud, asset recovery, cyber fraud, healthcare fraud, retail fraud and other areas. It’s important that organisations hire trained, qualified fraud investigators who understand the laws, are effective at evidence collection and fact-finding, and are good communicators (since interviewing is one of the key processes of fraud investigation). A fraud investigator might work with a team, or they might lead their team and report to another division. Being able to work under pressure and meet deadlines is critically important. Properly evaluating and securing evidence is of equal importance. CRI Group has only the best expert fraud investigators to meet these challenges.

Are you a fraud investigator? Tell us about your day-to-day job, we would love to hear it.

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

 

 

 

FTC guide for small business to avoid Scams

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a guide for small business.
Scams & Your Small Business guide is part of FTC’s efforts to help small business owners to avoid scams.

If you are a small business owner or are part of a non-profit organisation, you spend a time and energy on making sure your organisation works well. But when scammers go after your business, it can hurt your reputation and your bottom line. The guide explains common scams that target small businesses, describes scammers’ tactics, and provides steps that you can take to protect your business from scams. Tell your employees and colleagues what to look for so they can avoid scams.

Scams & Your Small Business guide can be your best protection against scammers. Check out the guide here!

 

Speak up against scams

Report any illegal, unethical, or improper behaviour. Our Ethics and Compliance Hotline is an anonymous reporting mechanism that facilitates reporting of possible illegal, unethical, or improper conduct when the normal channels of communication have proven ineffective, or are impractical under the circumstances.

At CRI Group, we are committed to having an open dialogue on ethical dilemmas regardless. This hotline is available to all employees, as well as clients, contractors, vendors and others in a business relationship with CRI Group and ABAC Group.

Compliance Hotline is accessible by both phone and online. If you make a report directly by telephone, you will speak with the Compliance Department directly. If you submit a report online, the system will guide you through the reporting process, and a PIN number will be generated automatically once you complete the report.

 

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Banking industry squad prevents £31.2m of fraud

Banking industry squad disrupted 23 Organised Criminal Groups (OCGs) preventing £31.2 million of fraud. The specialist police unit (DCPCU) is funded by the finance and banking industry in a dedicated effort to stop fraud.

Commonly known as the banking industry squad, the DCPCU (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit) is a joint effort between the Metropolitan Police Service, the City of London Police as well as banking industry fraud investigators. Supported by UK Finance, DCPCU is on the frontline in the fight against fraud. And over the past year, the unit has worked in partnership with several social media platforms to take down over 1,600 accounts which featured posts relating to payment:

  • 500 “money mules” accounts used to recruit young people
  • 250 accounts involved in the trading stolen card details
  • +400 “brokers” accounts 
  • with the rest of the accounts used for “flipping”

In 2019 DCPCU seized £1.65 million of assets – over double the amount confiscated in the same period in 2018 – with a total of 75 fraudsters convicted to a total of 100 years in prison. DCPCU operational successes include:

The DCPCU is very effective in disrupting criminals and a powerful example of how important is it that all sectors – i.e. banking industry – work with law enforcement to protect the public from fraud. 

Read more on what the Head of the DCPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, UK Finance Managing Director of Economic Crime and National fraud co-ordinator, Commander Karen Baxter have to say. Read NOW!

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

7 Traits of a Resilient Leader

Every successful leader has encountered a challenging scenario at some point in their career. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced leaders to face unforeseen new challenges. With the pandemic’s colossal impact on operations, workforces, profits and supply chains across the globe, all eyes are on leadership to guide their businesses through this crisis. Resilient Leader

Resilient leaders are generally seen as more effective, making them an asset to any business; but what is resilience and how can it be applied to your management skills?

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; it is a further evolution of stress management. This makes it a “no brainer” as to why resilience is such a popular concept in today’s business environment. Many businesses are pushing the concept of resilience as a way of helping workers better cope with the stresses and strains of the modern-day office and unlock their performance potential.

In this article, we look at seven essential qualities that characterise resilient leaders, and how to increase your resilience. In general, resilient leaders:

  1. Show empathy
  2. Are adaptable and able to improvise
  3. Are self-aware and open to feedback
  4. Take calculated risks
  5. Keep a positive attitude
  6. Develop others
  7. Communicate effectively

1. Resilient Leaders Show Empathy

COVID-19 has generated one of the greatest challenges and, simultaneously, one of the greatest opportunities for resilient leaders – at all levels. According to a Gallup U.S poll, six in 10 people are “very” or “somewhat worried” that they or a family member will be exposed to COVID-19 (Gallup, 2020). During this crisis, emotional management is even more crucial than ever. According to studies carried out by Development Dimensions International (DDI), empathy is the most critical leadership skill. Leaders who display compassion, authenticity and vulnerability – and are capable of apologising when they’re wrong and handle criticism without blame – create strong emotional bonds with their teams (DDI, 2020).

The most resilient (and effective) leaders can demonstrate empathy and a high level of emotional intelligence. When your team feels understood, they feel more motivated and more confident to contribute cultivating stronger conversations, ideas and debate. As Mark Cuban shared in a recent interview: “How you treat your employees today will have more impact on your brand in future years than any amount of advertising, any amount of anything you literally could do” (Just Capital, 2020).

2. Resilient Leaders Are Adaptable

With COVID-19 infecting approximately 311,641 people in the UK alone, health officials suggested using hand sanitiser as the easiest way to prevent the spread of the disease. Consequently, these announcements led to panic buying (Euronews, 2020). In this type of situation, a resilient leader should be able to visualise this action as an opportunity – for example, dozens of spirit manufacturers across the UK started to produce hand sanitisers (i.e. BrewDog and Leith Gin). This is a classic example of an instant attitude adjustment – looking at what they can do as opposed to what they can’t (Telegraph, 2020).

When faced with change, resilient leaders can focus on the things within their business that they can still control. Whether impacted by new technologies, environmental challenges or even ethical dilemmas, the modern business landscape is always changing. A resilient leader needs to be flexible and adaptable to succeed. Is flexibility part of your leadership style?

3. Resilient Leaders Are Self-Aware and Coachable

According to Health Care Business Today, self-awareness and coachability are “The Two Most Important Leadership Traits” (Health Care Business Today, 2019). We think so, too. Resilient leaders are self-aware, confident, and most of all, able to recognise their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Resilient leaders are open to feedback, ask for feedback and are always demonstrating a real effort to improve.

4. Resilient Leaders Take Calculated Risks

Successful leaders earned their success through taking calculated risks. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launched AmazonFresh, he was scrutinised by others because he didn’t choose a successful delivery or supermarket executive to run the venture. Instead, Bezos selected a team that had previously run a web-based food delivery service in the ‘90s (which collapsed after two years in business). Why? Bezos knew that the team had learned from their failure, which made them the perfect choice to succeed with a new project.

Resilient leaders like Bezos take calculated risks while accepting that failure is a by-product of innovation and success. They learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and flourish as the world changes around them.

5. Resilient Leaders Can Keep a Positive Mindset

The impact of COVID-19 is tough to manage. It is vital to have a positive mindset that can influence fellow professionals and raise team morale while maintaining business momentum.

Under the challenging circumstances posed by the COVID-19 crisis, a resilient leader needs to be enthusiastic, offer praise for success, and give credit when it’s due. American psychologist Carol Dweck has stated in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” that “a change of mindset must happen before other positive transformation can occur.”

Resiliency is needed when we encounter failure. As a resilient leader, you shouldn’t view failure as final, but as a necessary step to move further along your journey.

6. Resilient Leaders Develop Others

The most resilient leaders are concerned about the development of their teams. Developing others helps everyone to learn from their mistakes. We continue to find that leaders who want and accept honest feedback for themselves are more likely to give productive feedback and coaching to others.

7. Resilient Leaders Communicate Effectively

Effective communication helps teams understand changes, expectations and new directions. This understanding is the key to the success of any team. The most resilient and best leaders always communicate their intentions effectively to others and are willing to help their teams understand a new strategy or direction.

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be the ultimate test for business leadership. In times of crisis, only certain individuals can adapt and stand tall amongst the crowd. When it comes to leaders, being able to implement resilience tools and strategies will not only make you a better leader but help the company overall.

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Fraud Advisory Panel deep dives into the HBOS scandal

On 30 January 2017, following a four-month trial, former HBOS employees Scourfield and Mark Dobson involved in HBOS scandal were convicted of fraud and corruption involving a scheme that cost the bank £245m. Scourfield pleaded guilty to six counts including corruption, and Dobson was found guilty of counts including bribery, fraud and money laundering.

The HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) fraud trial was highly unusual in that senior bankers were convicted of crimes, including fraud and hiding the proceeds of crime, in the boom of irresponsible lending ahead of the 2008 crash. As Lloyds reopens compensation claims over HBOS fraud and almost a decade after the HBOS fraud victims will hopefully be finally compensated. Loyds damning review found that victims were not all treated equally after fraudsters plundered £1bn to fund sex parties, superyachts and lavish holidays. The victims were the taxpayer, small business customers of the bank, and HBOS shareholders.

Fraud Advisory Panel

Fraud Advisory Panel discusses the HBOS scandal in an executive breakfast briefing. Which will take a deep dive into the case and take stock of the significant challenges faced by counter-fraud professionals to ensure fair access to justice for those affected by fraud and financial crime, especially SMEs. The agenda is comprised of the following:

  • The impact of the HBOS fraud on its victims.
  • The practical challenges faced by law enforcement and prosecutors in large corporate frauds.
  • The work of the APPG on Fair Business Banking to support SME victims.
  • The key lessons that can be learnt from HBOS and how these can be used to inform proactive action to support victims.

Guest speakers

  • Nick Gould, Aria Grace Law
  • Brian O’Neill QC, 2 Hare Court
  • Anthony Stansfeld, Police Crime Commissioner, Thames Valley
  • Kevin Hollinrake MP Thirsk and Malton, Co-chair,  All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking

In the chair

  • Rachel Sexton, director, Fraud Advisory Panel

Details

Date: 5 August 2020
Time: 08:30 – 10:30
Location: Online
Venue: Live interactive session
Costs: FAP member £20+VAT; Non-member £30+VAT

Register HERE!

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. Contact us today to get started on implementing a robust program that will serve you well for years to come. Get your FREE QUOTE now! 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Ethical code of conduct: What should be covered?

Business leaders are usually quick to communicate their expectations to employees, especially when it comes to financial goals or tasks that they want accomplished. However, what is often lacking is a clear, concise explanation of what the organisation expects in terms of ethical behaviour. The recent article “Puffery or Not? Courts Examine Corporate Codes of Conduct” explains that although a number of federal courts have found code of conduct statements to be non-actionable puffery, given the uncertainty in the face of the novel CODIV19 pandemic, public companies are ought to review their codes of conduct and revise them if necessary to mitigate litigation risk. Ethical code of conduct:

Does your organisation have an ethical code of conduct? If not, you might be making assumptions that your employees know to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, when, in fact, this expectation only exists in a grey area in their minds – if at all. In fact, some employees who have engaged in fraud, corruption or other unethical situations have claimed that while they knew their behaviour was wrong, they thought it was implicitly accepted by their bosses and, in some cases, their company on the whole.

Rather than assume that ethical rules “go without saying,” every organisation should spell out what they expect of their employees when it comes to ethical behaviour. At CRI Group, we counsel business leaders on the principal that every organisation should have a written, carefully considered ethical code of conduct as part of their fraud prevention strategy. CRI’s Certification program through the ABAC Center of Excellence includes developing an ethical code of conduct as part of the training and development phase for clients.

What should be covered?

An ethical code of conduct should be tailored to your company and your organisation – no two will be exactly the same. What are the risks inherent in your organisation? What about in your industry? A pharmaceutical company will have some different risk areas than a retail store, for example. A nonprofit organisation might have concerns that relate to fundraising, a government agency might be focused on preventing bribery or collusion.

The goal of an ethical code of conduct is to help all employees understand the expectation that they behave in a legal and ethical manner at all times, and that the organisation has zero tolerance for unethical behaviour. It should include the following focal points:

1. Business values

This can include your organisation’s mission and vision, and should help set the tone for how the organisation relates to its clients, partners, its own employees and the public at large.

2. Guiding principles

The principles that guide your company likely include customer satisfaction, financial success and profitability, improvement and growth. Your company might also follow policies of corporate responsibility, such as respect for social and environmental issues, and support of the community and/or nonprofit efforts.

3. Role of leadership

This section of the code of conduct should state that management has clearly endorsed the code, and that employees can approach any manager or executive with ethical concerns or complaints.

4.Regulatory and compliance

This section should communicate the organisation’s commitment to meeting all compliance requirements, from OSHA and EPA to Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank. This reinforces leadership’s expectation that employees must act diligently and ethically to uphold those standards, as well.

5. Employee responsibility

Every employee, from top to bottom, shares the responsibility toward upholding the ethical standard defined in the code. Contractors and volunteers are also expected to follow the standard of behaviour.  Furthermore, the code should make clear that if unethical behaviour is detected, turning a blind eye or deciding “it’s not my problem” is unacceptable. That, in itself, is a breach of the ethical code.

CRI Group can help your organisation with the finer points of drafting and implementing an ethical code of conduct. ABAC Center of Excellence includes this critical piece as a part of any robust fraud, bribery and corruption prevention program.

After the ethical code of conduct is approved by company leadership, it should be read and signed by all employees (with the signed copies kept on file by the organisation). And it should be displayed prominently in the office. Unethical behaviour, including fraud and other corruption, is everyone’s problem, and it must be prevented, detected and reduced. Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader.

ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification is offered under CRI Group’s ABAC® Centre of Excellence, an independent certification body established for Anti-Bribery Management System training and certification, Compliance Management System and Risk Management System certification. The program will be tailored to your organisation’s needs and requirements. For assistance in developing and implementing a fraud prevention strategy, contact ABAC today or get a FREE QUOTE now!

1 in 3 Furloughed UK Employees Pressured to Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major crisis for businesses and employees around the world. To make matters worse, some unscrupulous employers in the UK have abused the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by engaging in furlough fraud. They do this by accepting taxpayer money designed to help them pay salaries for furloughed workers, who are essentially “deactivated” to due to loss of business and quarantine – yet they pressure them to work (or they accept furlough benefits without the employees’ knowledge).

The system is designed to keep companies from laying off employees during such a time of crisis. Unfortunately, a crisis can also present the opportunity to commit fraud. In this case, pressuring employees to work despite being furloughed is an abuse of the system and a violation of the law. Employers who do this are gaming the system and taking advantage of employee labour, with taxpayers footing up to 80 percent of the bill (their salary).

How big is the problem? According to a recent study, more than one in three employees on furlough in the UK are currently under pressure to continue working while on furlough (Express UK, 2020). This shocking statistic has demonstrated that the issue of abuse in the furlough system is not an isolated affair, but appears to be widespread. So much so that HM Revenues and Customs is actually offering a 30-day amnesty period for employers to “admit to deliberate non-compliance of furloughing rules” (Yahoo UK, 2020). More than 1,900 calls have been logged to the furlough fraud hotline, and companies face penalties with new legislation on the way to punish violations.

What does furlough fraud look like? Here are some of the ways that employers are abusing the system.

1. Furloughed employees are pressured to work

A survey showed that 27 percent of furloughed employees were asked to send and respond to emails, and 17 percent were asked to make phone calls. Furlough workers by law are not expected to be actively engaging in any work for the employer while furloughed.

2. They are asked to come to the workplace

Rather than being asked to work from home (which is still against the rules), 12 percent of furloughed employees report being pressured to physically attend their workplace.

3. Employees are encouraged to “volunteer”

A reported 11 percent of furloughed employees are being pressured to continuing working for their employer as a “volunteer,” which is against the law.

4. Some employee don’t even know they are furloughed

In certain cases, employers have claimed furlough on their employees’ behalf, without their knowledge, while they continue working.

In their efforts to eradicate corruption, Parliament is pushing through new draft legislation that is expected to become law in July as part of the Finance Bill 2020. Dawn Register, partner in tax dispute resolution at BDO, told Personnel Today: “It is clear that HMRC is now gearing up to tackle incorrect and fraudulent claims for Covid-19 support payments. Latest government statistics show the eye-watering numbers paid out and why HMRC resources will focus on this potential new area of fraud” (Personnel Today, 2020).

The problem of furlough fraud illustrates the danger at companies that don’t adhere to a strict ethical code of conduct. By contrast, a proper tone at the top that helps discourage fraud and corruption would make it just as difficult and unacceptable to flout furlough laws as it would be to, say, engage in bribery, or cook its books. Unfortunately, many entities in the UK will likely learn the hard way when investigations and penalties bring them into compliance at a high cost. Legislators have signalled that both criminal and civil penalties will be on the table for those companies found to be abusing the system.

At CRI Group, our experts are focused on anti-corruption methods and help implement proper anti-fraud processes that prevent problems like furlough fraud. Our due diligence processes can also detect when such fraudulent acts are being undertaken without the knowledge of ownership or directors. Let us show you ways to detect and prevent fraud at every level, and build a corporate culture that’s based on compliance and ethics.

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

6 challenges for compliance officers in 2020

The job of a compliance officer can be a difficult one. Organisations from large corporations down to small government agencies rely on their compliance officers to keep them within ethical and legal boundaries. They also rely on them to maintain monitoring and reporting requirements, and stay abreast of any changes in the compliance landscape. For professionals in this field, the bad news is that challenges will continue to increase in the near future (as we’ll explain in this article). The good news is that there are trained experts available to work hand-in-hand with organisations’ compliance officers to minimise risk and help them remain in compliance.

The stakes are high, as organisations in both the public and private sectors face new laws and regulations in jurisdictions around the world, along with increasingly strict enforcement and punishments. Investigations of violations can, and often do, lead to heavy fines. In some cases, criminal charges may result – and these can be levied against the organisation, or individuals, or both. Here are some of the biggest challenges facing compliance officers today:

 1. Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations

The Panama Papers and other major scandals, including the illicit funding of certain terrorist actions, brought money laundering issues firmly into the spotlight. Many governments have been stirred to action to create stronger measures meant to prevent the illegal funding of criminal or terrorist enterprises. In the European Union, this resulted in the 5th Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), which takes effect in January 2020. 5MLD impacts organisations most directly in how they handle their know-your-customer (KYC) processes.

In the run-up to the 5MLD, there was increased attention on high-risk countries. Clients or transactions engaged in high-risk countries are now subject to enhanced due diligence when performing onboarding checks. Compliance teams need to ensure KYC is not a simple “tick box” exercise during the onboarding phase, and ongoing monitoring processes need to be implemented to manage changes throughout the customer lifecycle.

5MLD requires enhanced due diligence when dealing with high-risk countries. In addition to obtaining evidence of the source of funds and source of wealth, information on beneficial ownership and background to the intended transaction must also be recorded. The EU may also designate a ‘blacklist’ of high-risk countries for money laundering.

2. Conflicts of interest

Risks related to conflicts of interest are significant at every level of the company. Starting with the board of directors, an effective board must be transparent about potential conflict issues and address them on an ongoing basis. Board decisions that either suffer from actual conflicts can risk the board’s adherence to its duties and create real legal risks. Even the appearance of a conflict can raise real issues and transparency becomes even more important in these contexts.

This same level of risk can undermine the integrity of senior management. When senior executives fail to address real and significant conflicts, the integrity and overall leadership trust factor can deteriorate. A compliance executive must be willing to take on these issues, even when it is difficult to confront senior executives.

Within the private equity (PE) industry, conflicts and their adequate disclosure remain problematic. In recent years regulators have made examinations of PE firms and their complex structures top priorities. Most major organisations – and their compliance officers – see outside business activities as a risk.

3. Innovation driving new demands

New innovations are providing increased efficiency in compliance processes, which is a major plus for organisations. Always a double-edged sword, however, technology also creates more issues in data security, not to mention the training and expertise required to master it.

For many ‘non-tech’ professionals such as compliance officers, rapidly changing technology can be a concern, as the importance and integration of technology into the compliance suite continue to evolve. Compliance officers may not need to become technology experts, but they do need to ensure that tech-related risks are addressed within their firm’s framework. Compliance must be aware of rules and regulations from every jurisdiction with authority over the firm’s activities. This is another area where partnering with an outside firm that provides training and technology resources can be a major advantage.

4. Regulatory and political change

Recent years have seen a flurry of new regulations from various governmental bodies and jurisdictions, from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act to 5MLD. The GDPR, for example, has extraterritorial reach. It also serves as a model for future possible regulations in the critical area of data privacy and cybersecurity.

In Europe, Brexit creates real uncertainty for the UK’s regulators, and the industries that they regulate. But Brexit also impacts EU member states and any organisations doing business within or through the UK. The impact is far-reaching, and regulators face major challenges in responding to profound changes in policy, the legislative framework and the wider economic context.

Politics in the United States and other nations have also seen similar dramatic shifts in governmental control and resultant effects in policy, which can impact regulatory laws and how they are implemented and enforced worldwide. One thing is certain – investigations and legal actions based on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) continue to increase, and organisations must remain diligent in conducting risk assessments and implementing control measures to remain in compliance.

5. Personal liability

One area of concern sure to grab the attention of any compliance officer is the issue of personal liability. Recent news stories have reported criminal convictions, some leading to prison sentences, of executives, “middle men” and other individuals involved in various scandals. Compliance officers should take heed, as their responsibilities to their company can also extend to their own professional conduct being placed under a microscope. Many compliance professionals are aware of this, as a recent Thomson-Reuters survey found that 60% of them expect personal liability to increase.

New initiatives underline this reality, such as the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SCMR) in Europe. It places a focus on firms’ senior managers and individual responsibility, and extends to all Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) solo-regulated financial services firms. The FCA itself has been increasing enforcement notices against individuals. We can expect an increase in these types of measures and they will apply to industries beyond those in the financial sector.

6. Ethics and integrity

Today’s business landscape brings an increased emphasis on the culture of an organisation, with an eye toward ethical practices and principles. With growing scrutiny from both regulators and stakeholders, the pressure is on for compliance professionals and their superiors to take broader responsibility for policies, procedures and controls to create a truly ethical business.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is a notable example of how data misuse has serious brand and societal implications, on top of legal and compliance penalties. The public outrage was so intense that governments were forced to act, calling on Facebook and other involved parties to testify and explain themselves. The market’s reaction was also punishing, with more than $100 billion knocked off Facebook’s share price in days, while Cambridge Analytica went out of business.

In conclusion, AML regulations, conflicts of interest, innovation driving new demands, regulatory and political change, personal liability, and ethics and integrity issues are among the biggest challenges facing today’s compliance professional. This is the time to address solutions. There is expert help and a wealth of resources available, with no better time to leverage them than the present.

Let us know if you would like to learn more! Contact us today and get your FREE QUOTE now!

 

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.