4 in 5 Singapore firms fell prey to financial crimes over past year: Survey

For 42 per cent of Singapore companies, they experienced cases of financial crime by their own employees.
For 42 per cent of Singapore companies, they experienced cases of financial crime by their own employees.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - When it comes to falling victim to financial crime, 82 per cent of Singapore companies surveyed did so over the past 12 months, according to a Refinitiv report.

This is higher than the 75 per cent of companies surveyed across the Asia-Pacific, the provider of financial markets data and infrastructure said on Wednesday (May 29). Its report also found a "lax approach" to due diligence checks when onboarding new customers, suppliers and partners, which creates an environment where criminal activity can thrive.

For 42 per cent of Singapore companies, they experienced cases of financial crime by their own employees.

Over the next year, companies in Singapore plan to spend on average 46 per cent more to detect and prevent financial crime, compared with 51 per cent globally.

Incidents of financial crime have led to a wake-up call with 69 per cent of Singapore companies adopting new technologies to combat financial crime, according to the report.

Globally, 97 per cent of companies believe technology can significantly help in preventing financial crimes, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning being the top choice, followed by cloud-based data and technology.

That being said, 75 per cent of Singapore companies are struggling to harness technological advancements, compared with 72 per cent in the Asia-Pacific.

When it comes to sharing information, a majority or 86 per cent of respondents from Singapore said data privacy regulations are "restricting" their ability to collaborate against financial crime, compared with 83 per cent across Asia-Pacific.

 
 
 

Some 84 per cent of Singapore companies also believe the benefits outweigh the risks when sharing information and collaborating against financial crime. In the Asia-Pacific, 88 per cent of organisations believe sharing information with a partnership organisation outweighs any possible risks, compared with 86 per cent globally.

A majority or 85 per cent of Asia-Pacific respondents said they had some sort of an existing partnership or taskforce in their country to combat financial crime, compared with 81 per cent globally.

Refinitiv's study was conducted by an independent third party in March 2019, garnering responses from 3,138 managers with compliance-related responsibilities at large global organizations. This was from across 24 geographies, including Singapore, which saw 130 respondents.