Fraud in Europe

Survey Offers Insight to Crime Trends

The fraud risk management field in Europe, and particularly in the United Kingdom, is quickly gaining momentum as many corporations are recognizing how white-collar crime adversely affects their financial bottom lines, and in turn, the overall economies of their countries.

In the United Kingdom alone, it is estimated that fraud constitutes for £5 billion in annual losses, according to the Serious Fraud Office. This growing concern inspired two academicians at the University of Nottingham Business School in the United Kingdom to conduct and publish a survey that would determine the current trends of white-collar crime in Europe and what “ if anything “ corporate management is doing about it.

The survey authors, Dr. Paul Barnes and David Sharp, enlisted the aid of Business Defence Europe Ltd. and the U.K. Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and eventually came out with The Fraud Survey “ 1998, which received extensive media coverage in numerous U.K. newspapers, magazines, and radio programs. The fraud research was for Sharp ™s dissertation as part of his master of business administration degree at the University of Nottingham. He now has a career in fraud consulting and training. Barnes is the director of the Fraud Research Centre at the University of Nottingham Business School and a reader in corporate finance and accounting.

The Survey Participants

Barnes and Sharp distributed 2,000 surveys in the summer of 1998 to people within the Association ™s European Membership database and Business Defence Limited ™s database, which included numerous CEOs from most of Europe ™s largest corporations. Just over 200 responses were received, and roughly 90 percent of the respondents were from the United Kingdom. Here ™s a breakdown of the respondents ™ organizational roles, their industries, and their companies ™ status, type, and size. (Figures represent percentages.)


Occupational Role: internal auditor, 33.5; security manager, 14.6; "other," 12.7; financial director, 10.7; finance manager, 8.9; executive director, 3.8; personnel director or risk manager, 3.2; chairman/chief executive, 3.1; company accountant, 2.5; and company secretary or in-house counsel, 1.9.


Industry: healthcare, 27.9; "other," 17.1; retail, 10; manufacturing, 9.3; services, 8.6; banking, 7.1; insurance, 6.4; government and oil/gas, 3.6; and education, utilities, and construction, 2.1.


Company Status: nonprofit, 35.1; group parent, 30.1; standalone company/firm, 11.7; overseas subsidiary or national subsidiary, 9.4; national division/department/branch, 2.3; and overseas division/department/branch, 1.7.

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