Financial Crime: A sustainable future is less corrupt

Financial crime is detrimental to reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Financial crime is a law enforcement priority in jurisdictions around the world yet it continues to undermine global financial systems, impede economic growth and cause huge losses to businesses and individuals.

Financial crime refers to illegal acts committed by an individual or a group of individuals in order to obtain a financial or professional advantage. The principal motive is economic gain. One important UN Sustainable Development Goal is to substantially reduce corruption and bribery as well as to combat all forms of organized crime. Despite this and fueled by ever-increasing globalization and digitalization, criminals are able to commit financial crime with increasing efficiency and sophistication with often major consequences for victims.


Financial crime has taken on a whole new dimension with the rapid advancement of digital technology combined with deceptive and sophisticated social engineering techniques. While bribery and corruption, together with money laundering, remains a concern, the illegitimate use of virtual assets, cryptocurrencies, CEO fraud and ransomware attacks have all matured significantly in recent years and are now widespread methods to facilitate crime, according to Interpol. In the Nordic countries, law enforcement agencies experience the same trend.

Financial crime risk can be mitigated with a robust Governance, Risk and Compliance framework. A fraud risk management (FRM) program should demonstrate adequate governance and internal control. The key components of a FRM program are aligned with the COSO framework. COSO is the most commonly used internal control framework, developing thought leadership regarding internal control, risk management, governance and fraud deterrence.

Risk generates both new challenges and opportunities. We have classified key drivers for the needs of management, workforce, and operations of organizations to provide a background for the new opportunities.