London, 23 June 2005: In a major step forward in the prevention of corporate fraud, Fraud-i Ltd has launched Fraud-iâ¢, a new web-based fraud management tool and the first to provide organisations across both the private and commercial sectors with a combined fraud awareness and training strategy.
Fraud-i Ltd is a new joint venture formed by Hibis Europe and Capital Eye, two companies with huge specialist sector experience and a strong pedigree in working with blue-chip companies in the area of fraud detection and prevention.
During its development phase, Fraud-i has met with a positive response from a cross-section of leading organisations. It already has installations in five major European blue-chip corporations and negotiations are well-advanced with a further six potential customers.
"Corporate fraud is the largest unmanaged organisation risk today, costing businesses typically between two and five percent of total sales," believes Alan McDonagh, director of Fraud-i Ltd. "Companies today spend huge sums of money in protecting the business against disasters, especially in the wake of September 11, yet senior management often ignores the threat posed by corporate theft and corruption, which is much more likely to bring down a business."
âA mirror under the businessâ
Launched after three yearsâ intensive development, Fraud-i is the first product to bring together fraud awareness and training in an integrated solution. It takes a comprehensive approach to corporate ethics and fraud management, by raising awareness throughout the organisation, ensuring that everyone understands the risks, highlighting early warning signs of potential fraudulent activity and taking every action possible to prevent fraud.
"Equally, Fraud-i provides a first line of defence against contractor fraud," adds fellow director, Simon Imbert, "by similarly making staff of third party suppliers aware of the companyâs fraud management policies and ethics, the penalties for breaking such policies and how to use mechanisms for âspeaking upâ or whistle-blowing any suspected wrong-doing."
Fraud-i is designed to run over the internet on an external server or an internal server over an intranet. As part of this, the Fraud Awareness Training Pack includes a structured 30-minute on-line questionnaire which seeks to establish the current level of awareness throughout the organisation.
"Critically," says McDonagh, "it also increases understanding of what constitutes corporate fraud, by âred flaggingâ a range of activities which may indicate fraudulent activity or unethical behaviour. Corruption can take place at all levels of the business - from straightforward theft to management frauds such as price fixing, taking supplier kickbacks and manipulation of sales or stock figures - and shop-floor staff often have a unique perspective on the early-warning signs of unethical or fraudulent activity.
"Fraud-i therefore provides a unique âmirror under the businessâ," he confirms, "enabling staff at any level to express their concerns, anonymously or otherwise, and âspeak upâ against fraud."
Message from the top
Common to those organisations already working with, or in discussion with, Fraud-i Ltd is the importance of setting the tone for stamping out corruption from the top, as part of a broader approach to business ethics. As one corporate policy succinctly puts it: "We will not tolerate fraud. Our fraud policy and guidelines alert management to the ways in which fraud can happen and identify best practices to prevent it."
With the launch of Fraud-i, such organisations now have a cost-effective and finely-targeted tool to ensure that all staff are fully aware of corporate policies, what constitutes fraud against the company and what to look out for âand bring to management attention â early indications of possible fraudulent activity.
McDonagh adds: "Organisations today are under increasing pressure to âput their house in orderâ. Regulation, such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II, together with changing attitudes towards corporate social responsibility are forcing companies to adopt the highest ethical standards, reappraise reporting procedures and improve methods of detecting and dealing with corporate fraud.
"With the introduction of Fraud-i, for the first time they now have a comprehensive and cost- efficient âtoolboxâ for creating effective, organisation-wide fraud management and prevention strategies. In short, it enables organisations to become âfraud responsibleâ."