10 May 2022

Majority of global businesses significantly impacted by fraud and serious misconduct, study finds

Cost of internal investigations also increasing, particularly for large organisations, according to Kroll

Man wearing suit and tie putting $100 bills into his jacket pocket


More than four in five global business leaders say their organisations have been significantly impacted by fraud and other serious misconduct, according to a new survey by Kroll.

Some 82% of respondents said their organisations have experienced incidents of fraud, corruption, illicit activity, money laundering or other serious misconduct, Kroll’s Global Fraud and Risk Report stated. The study – which surveyed more than 1,330 senior decision-makers including CEOs, general counsel and chief compliance officers – also found that more than three quarters of respondents (78%) had conducted investigations into fraud, corruption or related misconduct over the past three years.

Some 79% of respondents said the cost of investigations has increased over the same period. Roughly half of organisations with a turnover of $15bn or more (49%) said the cost of investigations had increased significantly – almost double the global average who said costs had gone up significantly (26%). That is despite advancements in technology and data analytics that should, in theory, make investigations easier to conduct.

Andy Gandhi, managing director and global leader for data insights and forensics at Kroll, said: “The exponential growth of electronic information within organisations means that when an internal investigation kicks in, finding facts across large, disparate data sets can be a monumental task, causing inefficiencies and delays.”

Almost all organisations that had carried out an internal investigation (98%) said they had hired an external firm to support the process, with 55% using computer forensics and eDiscovery firms and 47% using specialist investigations firms.

The sectors most impacted by serious misconduct were transport, leisure and tourism (90%), banks (89%) and technology, media and telecommunications (88%). Despite being the most impacted, transport, leisure and tourism businesses were among the least likely to probe what had happened, with just 65% of organisations in that sector opening an investigation over the past three years. Only the extractives sector was less likely to conduct investigations into serious misconduct (64%). Banks were the most likely to carry out an investigation (84%), followed by life sciences businesses (83%).

The research also showed that external advisors are not always delivering value when supporting investigations. More than a quarter of respondents (29%) said document review and eDiscovery services were more expensive relative to their value, followed by computer forensics firms (24%).