The 2020 Global Financial Crime Investigations Survey: 57% of analysts saw productivity stagnate or decline, introducing business and cyber risks to firms.

Today, Authentic8 released a new report based on findings of its 2020 Global Financial Crime Investigations Survey conducted with ACFCS. The survey encompassed more than 150 organizations and set out to understand how their financial crime investigation practices are faring. Unfortunately, the answer is, “not great.”

Productivity issues in financial crime investigations put organizations at risk

Against growing threats in the financial crime space, 57 percent of survey respondents reported stagnation or a decrease in caseload productivity over the last year. If investigators are unable to keep pace with threats, their organizations risk monetary loss, compliance violations and exposure to adversaries.

analyst productivity stagnant or decreasing

“Adversaries are growing in both sophistication and number, but the surveyed firms are telling us the productivity of their fraud analysts is not improving at the same rate. The imbalance leads to more risk exposure for financial firms and other regulated industries. They risk write-downs, legal penalties, damage to their brand reputations, and more. What this survey is telling us is that companies need to focus more resources on the productivity of their financial fraud analysts, and specifically on the investigation tools that their analysts need in order to be effective in their research.”

Scott Petry, Authentic8 CEO and Co-Founder

Other survey responses uncovered what could be causing productivity issues in financial crime investigations.

  • 50 percent of respondents state that anonymity is critical while conducting investigations, recognizing that without managed attribution, targets could seek retribution and entire cases could be blown, further hampering productivity.
  • 46 percent are not able to follow leads into the dark web, though they indicate that this capability would be valuable if done securely and in accordance with compliance and risk management requirements. Limiting investigator access to the dark web is hurting the efficiency and effectiveness of their investigations.
  • Nearly all (98 percent) of respondents agree they need to protect IT infrastructure while browsing unsafe sites. However, research analysts are sometimes left to their own devices to properly isolate their online research to reduce risk to their organizations, adding to caseload productivity issues. Clunky processes such as requesting permissions or other overhead management can also add time to investigations.
  • Training to keep up with evolutions in criminal tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) and changes in technology ranks as the top challenge for investigators (28 percent). They are struggling to get the specialized training they need to successfully perform investigations in the most efficient manner.

Investing in OSINT gathering capabilities yields productivity gains

Of the 43 percent of survey respondents who have seen productivity go up, 86 percent have already invested in open source intelligence (OSINT) gathering capabilities or will be investing in it; of all survey respondents, 90 percent indicate that more investment is needed in this space to accelerate time-to-insight for investigations. It seems productivity critically hinges on enabling effective OSINT gathering.

investment in OSINT tools

Get the full Financial Crimes Investigations Report

To learn more about these and other findings from the survey, download the 2020 Global Financial Crime Investigations Survey Report here. In addition to survey statistics, the report also includes insights on how to make the right investment in people, processes and tools to overcome the productivity challenge.

Download now >

About the Author

Jeff Phillips
Jeff Phillips

Jeff Phillips is the director of product marketing for Authentic8 where he focuses on customer needs and driving product go-to-market strategy. Jeff has 20+ years of product marketing experience, including seven years at Microsoft. He brings a successful history of launching products and SaaS offerings at both startups and Fortune 100 companies.

Related Resources


Global financial crime investigations survey report

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