Global Economic Crime Survey 2016

Adjusting the Lens on Economic Crime: Preparation brings opportunity back into focus

Today more than ever before, a passive approach to detecting and preventing economic crime is a recipe for disaster. To underscore this fact, our survey uncovered a widespread lack of confidence in local law enforcement – a phenomenon that is not limited to regions or level of economic development.

The message is clear: the burden of preventing, protecting and responding to economic crime rests firmly with organisations themselves. Our survey this year focuses on three key areas – Cybercrime, Ethics and compliance programmes and Anti-Money Laundering – and explores certain common themes, including managing the risks associated with the pervasion of technology; what it means to conduct business responsibly across a widening business landscape; and integrating ethical conduct into decision-making.​ 

In addition to highlighting specific areas of economic crime worth focusing on, we emphasise the things you can do better to tackle them – implementing more sophisticated and effective measures that can not only reduce these risks, but also bring the benefits of a more threat-aware business, confident of its defences in a changing world.​

Economic crime an obstinate threat

‘Economic crime is a diversified global issue.’

  • More than one in three (36%) organisations experienced economic crime
  • Both developed and emerging markets affected
  • Company detection methods not keeping pace

What opportunities are available for countering economic crime proactively?


‘Controls must be embedded in organisational culture.’

  • Gap between internal and external fraud actor is closing
  • 1 in 5 respondents have never carried out a fraud risk assessment

What are the risks your business faces and do you actively identify vulnerable areas?

Cyber threats

‘Cyber threats climb, but business preparation is not keeping pace.’

  • Cybercrime climbs to 2nd most reported economic crime affecting 32% of organisations.
  • Most companies are still not adequately prepared for – or even understand the risks faced: Only 37% of organisations have a cyber incident response plan.
  • Engagement of leadership is critical, but less than half of board members request information about their organisation’s state of cyber-readiness.

How will your cyber-response plan stand up to reality?

Financial technology

‘Disconnected: tone at the top and reality on the ground.’

  • 1 in 5 respondents not aware of the existence of a formal ethics and compliance programme and many are confused about who owns it internally.
  • Almost half the incidents of serious economic crimes were perpetrated by internal parties.
  • Employee morale (44%) and reputational harm (32%) cited as top forms of damage.

How is your business strategy aligned with and led by your organisational values?

Financial crime

‘Anti-money laundering continues to confound.’

  • 1 in 5 banks have experienced enforcement actions by a regulator – failure to curb illicit business practices may lead to personal liability.
  • More than a quarter of financial services firms have not conducted AML/CFT risk assessments across their global footprint.
  • Data quality cited by 33% of respondents as a significant technical challenge.
  • Lack of experienced AML/CFT staff is a major issue

How would your organisation fare in the face of regulatory scrutiny?

Participation statistics

"What the results tell us is that despite the millions of dollars being spent to tackle it, economic crime remains a persistent and serious issue. It may be slightly down on the last survey, but this type of crime is changing, rather than going away."

Kristin RiveraPwC Global Forensic Services Leader

Forewarned, forearmed, forward​

Economic crime is ever-evolving, and becoming a more complex issue for organisations and economies. The regulatory landscape, is also changing, bringing with it numerous challenges to doing business. With local law enforcement not necessarily perceived as able to make a material difference, the onus is squarely on the shoulders of the business community to protect itself, and its stakeholders, from economic crime.

As we discuss in the three upcoming sections – dedicated to the strategically crucial areas of cybercrime, ethics and compliance programmes and anti-money laundering – our survey numbers can help uncover not only potentially troublesome red flags and trends. They can also serve as vitally important indicators of areas of opportunity for forward-thinking organisations to meet the challenges of a whole new world. To be forewarned is to be forearmed for success.​

Contact us

Kristin Rivera
Global Forensic Services Leader, PwC US
Tel: +1 (415) 498-6566

Christian Butter
EMEA Forensic Services Leader, PwC UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 5090

Erik Skramstad
APA Forensic Services Leader, PwC US
Tel: +1 (617) 530-6156

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