HK ranks poorly in fraud prevention
Hong Kong private businesses will need to ramp up their commitment to fraud prevention in order to catch up with the rest of the world, according to a survey released yesterday.
Just 28 per cent of privately held local businesses have specialist staff in place to detect and prevent fraud, compared to a global average of 45 per cent, according to the findings of the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) 2008.
Hong Kong came in at No27 out of the 33 locations measured for the leading statistic and it could cost local businesses down the line.
'Business owners should not overlook the direct impact that fraud could [have] on their businesses' bottom line,' said Peter Wong, a partner of forensic and investigation services at Grant Thornton.
'It could also threaten their hard-earned reputation in one second,' Mr Wong said.
Hong Kong also did not measure up in terms of having policies in place to accommodate potential 'whistle-blowers'. Only 20 per cent of the city's privately held businesses had such policies in place, qualifying it for 31st place out of the 33.
Brazil had the highest ranking, the United States was ninth, and Singapore came in at 23rd.
'Without sufficient measures in place, whistle-blowers can be victimised as informants or traitors rather than a valuable early warning system,' Mr Wong said.
The mainland was also featured in the report, but was not included in the latest topics of fraud or 'whistle-blowing' out of compliance with Chinese research regulations.
The mainland participated in rankings released earlier on corporate social responsibility and economic outlook, according to a Grant Thornton representative.
The latest findings on fraud and whistle-blowing are part of the sixth edition of Grant Thornton's International Business Report, which covered more than 7,800 respondents from 34 countries and regions late last year. According to the survey's methodology, 250 respondents were drawn from Hong Kong in a random sampling.