Financial Crime Prevention – Interview with Softtek Expert Benjamin Plouganou

Your organization is always less than one year away from a potential crisis. While this may sound like a scary concept, let’s consider the facts. Target, Sony, and The Home Depot are often found among the top 10 lists of worst data breaches of all time. If we had asked each of these organizations a year earlier if they had foreseen this coming, they would have replied with a resounding “no.” Financial Crime Prevention is important to every organization. Whether you are a small business or a large conglomerate with thousands of stakeholders, the danger is the same. Without proper protection of your data, assets, and customer information, you may find yourself at risk for a major data exposure at any time, with no forewarning.

FinancialCrimeTo help us explore the current potential data exposure risks, as well as the future trends and challenges that should be on our radar, I interviewed our own Benjamin Plouganou, Softtek’s Director of Financial Crime Prevention Services. With over 11 years of experience in the financial industry, Benjamin specializes in Economic Crime Prevention Consulting and Product Services for some of the world’s largest organizations.

Lilian: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing organizations today in terms of economic crime?
Ben: It’s no secret that economic crime is on the rise. During 2014, one in three organizations were affected in some way by financial crime. With the advances in technology and the greater range of options available to communicate, share, buy, and store sensitive information, the risks are only increasing. I believe the biggest challenge we will see is in the form of more advanced and complex crimes and more corporate vulnerability through the increased use of technology.

Lilian: What are the trends that you see emerging in Financial Crime and how should companies prepare for these trends?
Ben: There are several rising trends within the financial crime world – with money laundering, fraud, and cybercrime among the fastest growing. While emerging technologies such as advances in computing systems, laptops, smartphones, online storage capabilities and the expansion of the internet represent great improvements in information sharing, they also serve as weapons for financial crime. Technological advancement is outpacing remediation. While we cannot overtake technology, we can find ways to combat the advent of advanced financial crime through monitoring, which is the key to prevention.

Lilian: What new technologies and innovations are available in the world of Financial Crime and how should companies be mindful of these for the future?
Ben: Economic crime prevention software is already available in the market. However, as we understand financial crime better, we are able to better predict the future actions of digital criminals, and in turn, these software applications become more effective, accurate and comprehensive with each passing year. As far as new technologies, there are several emerging services and applications that are more rational, more quickly implementable, and that carry lower costs of complexity, and these will prove to be the preferred choice for financial crime services.

Lilian: What are the top three suggestions you have for companies concerned with Financial Crime?
Ben: Top executives are increasingly concerned with data exposure threats and are challenged to comply with government regulations and requirements, which are often accompanied by costly economic sanctions if not followed properly. The paradox is that while they understand the benefits of financial crime prevention methods, they also see the achievement of this prevention as a very expensive, complex, and extensive process. My recommendation to executives facing this challenge is as follows:

  1. You must start by defining an Economic Crime Prevention program by clearly outlining the specific goals and metrics you would like to achieve
  2. Select a Service Provider that will guide you through the process, whether it’s with the implementation of a new program or the update of an existing one. While it may seem like a costly investment in the short run, it will save you money and valuable time in the long run.
  3. Get acquainted with new products, services and technologies available in the market that can dramatically decrease your implementation costs.
Lilian: Thank you so much for your time today! Are there any overall thoughts and suggestions you can leave us with regarding the Financial Crime industry?
Ben: One of the key things that research has indicated over the past three years is that financial crime is on the rise. Globally. This trend is not on its way out. It’s important to make the necessary adjustments and implementations now so that you can avoid a potential crisis later. Also, I think it is a common misconception that economic crime is limited to the Financial Services industry. This is far from reality. Retail, Communications, Manufacturing… the list goes on. Every organization that has any form of transactional, on-boarding, hiring, supply chain process, and credit card purchases, among others, can be exposed to financial crime. Lastly, it’s important to carefully consider your preventive measures regarding government regulations. As regulatory compliance requirements become more rigorous, the costs associated with any imposed sanctions or fees may take away funds that can be used for the actual prevention itself. It is far less expensive and more advantageous to preempt government actions and create a process to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of overcoming a data breach in the eyes of your customers and your overall operations.

To learn more about how Softtek helps companies guard against financial fraud, visit www.softtek.com or contact us directly at info.usa@softtek.com.