Owner and Executive Director of Security & Investigative Placement Consultants
As 2014 begins, it’s a good time to consider the outlook for anti-fraud professionals. As a recruiter, I see the professional opportunities as abundant and improving. Here’s why:
1) There are still a lot of messes to clean up from the financial sector meltdown. As injured parties seek restitution, investigators who can determine if assets still exist, and find them if they’re hidden, are in demand. Professional services firms are doing pre-litigation asset searches across the globe and probing the wreckage of failed businesses and relationships for recoverable funds. Aggrieved parties, stung by Ponzi schemes and other criminal activities, are turning to fraud investigators to ferret out information.
2) Enforcement activity has ratcheted up and will continue to be aggressive. The Securities and Exchange Commission made it clear that it intends to pursue more cases against individuals, not just corporations, and it will litigate more cases in court, and pursue larger fines against companies. The U.S. Dodd-Frank Act will present new challenges for businesses and new enforcement avenues.
3) The playing field is global. Internet frauds obliterate boundaries and will continue to proliferate. If anything, online fraudsters exhibit extreme creativity and are usually several steps ahead of even the most cautious of consumers and most aggressive investigators and law enforcement personnel.
In tandem, corporations looking for growth in new international markets have hurdled into problematic areas that are rife with audacious frauds and endemic corruption, which increase corporate exposures and put financial and reputational assets at risk. As a result, multi-nationals are confronting substantial operating issues and potential landmines relative to fraud and potential violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act.
4) Data is leaking all over the place. There’s no need to rob a bank when you can get more information, and therefore more funds, by stealing electronic data. Criminals know this and are exploiting weak defenses everywhere they can. With so much data being stored in the cloud, expect this trend to intensify. And hackers aren’t just attacking big businesses. They are hacking networks of small businesses and stealing proprietary data for fraudulent uses. Don’t expect that to change. There are too many potential targets to attack, and the barricades are too easy to overrun.
As a fraud fighter, you’ll need to stay abreast of developments in this dynamic landscape in real time. Certainly there are geographical and industry variation as the marketplace calls for more specialized knowledge, education and experience. Therefore, continuing education, specialized training, networking with peers, and monitoring relevant publications and websites will be critically important in the year ahead. The key to long-term career success as a fraud expert is to remain highly engaged in the professional community and to be alert to emerging trends and systemic vulnerabilities.