FCRM 101: Strategizing Against Business Financial Crimes

Protect your business against financial crimes by implementing an effective FCRM strategy.

Published on January 10, 2024
Last Updated on January 10, 2024

Do not let criminals rob you of your hard-earned profits. It is a grave concern that you cannot afford to overlook. Falling prey to financial schemes can undo all the strategic investments and hard work that you have put in. Prevention is the only solution, and the ultimate safeguard in this scenario is Financial Crime Risk Management (FCRM). 

While managing financial crime risks may seem challenging, our expert guidance can empower businesses of all sizes, from startups to multinational corporations, to shield their finances from fraudulent schemes. Join Us as we lead you in crafting a robust risk management strategy to prevent financial crimes in today's unpredictable business environment proactively.

What is Financial Crime Compliance?

Before diving deep into financial crime compliance, we must first learn what financial crimes are. These are illegal activities usually motivated by economic gain and include famous white-collar crime cases. They often hide within legitimate financial transactions, making them harder to detect by companies and authorities. Here are six common types of financial crimes:

  • Money Laundering: disguising “dirty money” as legitimate
  • Fraud: deceiving victims for financial gain
  • Bribery: exchanging money or gifts for influence
  • Embezzlement: misusing entrusted funds for personal gain
  • Insider Trading: exploiting confidential information for stock trading
  • Tax Evasion: deliberately avoiding full tax payments

If financial crime is a virus in the business world, then financial crime compliance is the antivirus software designed to fend off this specific threat. This kind of compliance refers to the strategies, actions, and rules organizations implement to prevent and detect financial crimes. It helps ensure business operations and transactions are within legal and ethical frameworks. 

The scope of compliance goes beyond just safeguarding company assets. It also involves implementing anti-money laundering/know-your-customer (AML/KYC) processes, establishing preventive measures against fraud and corruption, and conducting due diligence on clients and their transactions.

But why is financial crime compliance important? Consider the scale of the financial crime scene in the business world, let alone globally. A risk advisory firm found that criminals launder over $800 billion worldwide yearly [1], nearly 3% of the U.S. current dollar gross domestic product in Q3 2023 [2]. With compliance, companies can fight against these widespread financial crimes and boost their brand as a responsible and compliant entity, avoiding the risk of penalties or sanctions.

What is Financial Crime Risk Management?

While compliance is the antivirus that defends against previously identified threats, FCRM acts as an agile cybersecurity suite that prepares for evolving finance-related hazards before they even pose any danger to the company. This kind of risk management preemptively monitors, learns, predicts, and adapts to potential financial threats, enabling a company to play defense and preemptively engage fraudsters.

Financial crimes can deal both monetary and reputational damage to companies. A 2020 survey showed that English and Welsh businesses annually lost over $20,000 to fraud and more than $55,000 to corruption incidents individually on average [3]. In addition, a third of surveyed businesses reported an impact on their staff’s well-being due to experiencing fraud or corruption [3]. 

Financial risk management helps prevent these massive losses and reputational damages by blending reactive measures with forward-looking strategies and placing effective controls against potential financial crimes. Common types of historically successful risk anti-crime measures include:

Fraud Risk Management:

This involves measures to prevent, detect, and respond to all types of fraud, including identity theft, embezzlement, and card fraud.

Anti-Money Laundering:

AML procedures help detect and report suspicious activity related to money laundering, preventing criminals from legitimizing illegally gained assets.

Sanctions Compliance:

Understanding your vendors' financial soundness and stability is important. Do they have a long-standing presence in the market? Find out if they have a good business model and if they have served companies similar to yours. Instability in your vendor can hurt your business.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption:

With this type, businesses identify, assess, and manage corruption and bribery risks within their processes.


As financial crimes increasingly go digital, cyber risk management becomes more important in defending against hacking, phishing, and data theft.

Counter-terrorist financing (CFT):

CFT measures prevent, identify, and report any suspicious activity hinting toward funding terrorists.

Sanctions Screening:

his verifies that a business does not engage with any parties subject to trade restrictions or embargoes, ensuring regulation compliance.

Transaction Monitoring:

These processes and systems continuously scrutinize financial transactions to detect and flag any unusual or potentially illegal activity.

What Makes an Effective FCRM Strategy?

A fiscal-related risk management strategy is similar to a blueprint outlining the design and measurements of a house. Such a strategy outlines an organization's approach to tackling and mitigating financial dangers. It sets clear objectives for threat oversight, imposes guidelines to defend against potential fraud, guides resource allocation for risk management, and creates a uniform organization-wide standard for addressing financial crimes.

What separates an effective risk management strategy from the others are its foresight for potential threats, flexibility to adapt and respond rapidly to changes, and a culture of vigilance that keeps business employees on alert for financial vulnerabilities. Here are five critical components of a robust strategy:

Risk Identification:

This component aims to search for any potential weak spots in an organization’s infrastructure that financial criminals could sneak in. The strategy can zero in on strengthening these weaknesses by highlighting these areas.

Risk Assessment:

Financial crime risk assessment methodologies allow an organization to properly understand how big a threat the identified weaknesses could be and what damage a criminal could inflict when exploiting these spots.

Strategy Formulation:

Risk-related information should be the backbone of any battle plan against financial crimes. It helps determine the specific plans and actions to prevent fraudsters from inflicting fiscal losses.

Effective Communication:

Every individual within an organization should understand an effective strategy. This means that leaders should thoroughly explain the plan to steer the entire business in the same direction with the same goal of defending against fraud.

Review and Update:

This ensures that the strategy is agile and adaptable in the face of evolving threats, regulatory changes, or shifts in the operational landscape. It promotes proactive action and keeps the business one step ahead of criminals.

What is a Robust Financial Crime Risk Management Framework?

A robust framework details the specific steps to prevent financial crimes, defines safety measures, ensures the security and solidity of the business infrastructure, and enforces regulatory compliance. To achieve this, a company should incorporate these key actionable steps: 

Adopt Cutting-edge Technologies:

Fraud is an ever-evolving threat in a fast-paced world, and the only way to keep up with criminals is to embrace innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and real-time fraud detection [4].

Establish a Compliance Mechanism:

A system ensuring regular conformity to local and international financial laws and regulations is essential. This mechanism would include consistent audits to verify compliance across the organization.

Work with Industry Experts:

Award-winning outsourcing providers offer services specialized for maintaining compliance and managing financial risk, such as data analytics and proactive advisory [5]. Their unique insights and expertise significantly make a risk management framework effective.

Create Reporting and Monitoring Systems:

Continuous oversight of risk management processes helps assess their effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. The information these systems provide enables well-informed decision-making and demonstrates the company’s financial responsibility.

Cultivate a Skilled and Capable Workforce:

A key to ensuring a robust crime defense is a team that knows how to spot and stop financial threats. Invest in training programs to keep your employees up-to-date on handling financial risks effectively. The goal is to build a workforce that protects your company's finances and reputation.

What are the Best Regulatory Compliance Practices?

Regulatory bodies are a guiding light pointing toward the right path for companies navigating the complexities of financial crime risk management. Regulators shape the financial landscape, enforcing laws that outlaw various fiscal crimes and providing guidelines for organizations to model their internal controls and procedures.

Bank Secrecy Act:

This law mandates businesses to keep records and reports highly relevant to criminal, tax, and regulatory matters [6].

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:

This prohibits bribing foreign officials to secure or maintain business, maintaining a level playing field for honest businesses [7]. 

Anti-money Laundering Laws:

Several countries have AML-related legislation that mandates controls to prevent and detect money laundering and report suspicious activities.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations:

The FATF Recommendations are internationally recognized guidelines that aim to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other threats to financial integrity [8].

Given the significance of these outlined regulations and many other laws, businesses must follow them meticulously. Implementing best practices for regulatory compliance is a legal necessity and a critical line of defense against financial crimes.

Provide Regular Training:

Keeps employees updated with the latest regulations and tactics to identify and combat financial crimes.

Hire a Compliance Officer:

Empowers dedicated team to oversee regulation compliance and resolve related issues.

Implement Strong Internal Controls:

Enforces policy compliance and addresses any deviations swiftly through specialized mechanisms.

Establish a Culture of Compliance:

Fosters an organizational ethos that emphasizes adherence to regulations and prevention of financial crimes.

Follow Regulatory Trends

The FATF Recommendations are internationally recognized guidelines that aim to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other threats to financial integrity [8].

How can Technologies Improve FCRM?

To survive in a complex world that is swiftly evolving, businesses must steer the ship of risk management using the compass of innovative technologies. Cutting-edge tools and software gain a larger role in managing fiscal dangers. Automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and other FinTech solutions revolutionize mitigation measures by improving risk detection and prevention operations' efficiency, speed, and accuracy.

With automation, companies can identify potentially fraudulent transactions as they happen, serving as practical financial crime risk assessment examples. Automated tools utilize machine learning algorithms to perform tasks accurately, such as analyzing patterns of interactions and connections across networks, spotting anomalies inside systems, and flagging unusual customer behavior based on transaction history and other related details [4].

While AI already has high potential, combining it with human insights results in an even more powerful tool for combating financial crimes. Businesses can use AI-driven systems to filter out false positives and identify complex patterns beyond human capacity, freeing professionals to focus more on complex tasks and make informed decisions based on precise data.

Looking ahead, the future of risk management technologies lies in the continuous improvement and development of sophisticated tools. The focus is on incorporating advanced predictive analytics, enhancing AI and ML capabilities, and developing blockchain technologies for secure and transparent transactions. These evolutions signal a more dynamic and effective future for mitigating fiscal fraud.

How to Create an FCRM-Focused Workplace?

As the saying goes, a sword is only as good as the man wields it. No matter how advanced a company’s technologies and regulatory policies are, if the employees cannot unlock their full potential, they are worthless in fighting financial crimes.

The best way to equip employees with the right knowledge and mindset is to provide adequate training and cultivate the right culture for financial risk management. Training equips employees with an enhanced understanding of regulations, policies, and procedures that govern financial activities, enabling them to identify and report suspicious activities effectively. Meanwhile, fostering a culture of vigilance and compliance instills a sense of collective responsibility toward managing financial crime risk, boosting organizational resilience against financial threats.

To fuel this transformative journey, here are some strategic steps to consider:

  • Include everyone:
    • Launch comprehensive programs that span across all levels of the organization. No one is too high or too far down the chain for training.
  • Update regularly:
    • Ensure that training material is a frequently updated document to reflect the evolving landscape of financial crimes.
  • Lead consistently:
    • Management should be a living example of how employees should be: responsible, vigilant, and transparent in all actions.
  • Personalize Learning:
    • Because every person learns differently, a company should adopt a flexible training approach tailored to individual learning styles for maximum effectiveness.
  • Measure progress:
    • What gets measured gets improved. Conduct routine assessments to keep track of the learning process and pinpoint areas that can be enhanced.

Nurturing an efficient and knowledgeable workplace goes beyond just establishing processes and protocols; it is about embedding awareness and vigilance deep into the company's DNA.

How do Businesses Handle FCRM?

Imagine standing at the foot of a tall mountain: wouldn’t it be helpful if a seasoned guide could help you climb this rocky terrain? You can apply the same idea in financial risk management. You can learn about effectively managing fiscal threats from successful case studies, using them as a guide to illuminating pathways to best practices and effective strategies in battling financial criminals. Here are three real-world success stories that can help your risk management efforts.

  • Combining humans and technology to optimize compliance:
    • A vacation rental company partnered with Us for KYC identity verification work, enhanced due diligence, AML, and fraud risk management. We utilized automation and analytics to improve our Teammates' identity verification, regulation document filing, and risk management work. Our partnership decreased suspicious activity report backlogs, speeding up the KYC process, and increased the rate of daily case reviews with a low error rate.
  • Utilizing expertise and innovation to prevent fraud:
    • To match the rising level of online transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, an online marketplace selected Us to address fraudulent activities from buyers and sellers, among other tasks. We mobilized our experts in client services, project management, trust and safety, and operations to detect risky shop behavior, stop selling counterfeit and prohibited items, and improve security for platform users.
  • Training skilled professionals for scaling anti-fraud operations:
    • An online financial technology company and Us worked together to recalibrate processes and support an anti-fraud operations team. We adopted a multi-pronged strategy that included upskilling frontline Teammates, implementing an aggressive ramp plan, and analyzing existing operational weaknesses. Our effort improved customer satisfaction, quality score, and average handling time for fraud-related cases.

Manage Financial Crime Risks with Us

FCRM is a crucial part of preserving financial health and ethics in a company. Due to the increasing complexity and sophistication of financial crimes, it's important to have an agile and progressive FCRM strategy. You need to stay informed about emerging trends, adhere to tightening regulations, and take a forward-thinking approach to risk management. TaskUs provides expert knowledge and outsourced services to help keep your business financially protected, secure, and successful.

  • 1^Bank Secrecy Act
  • 3^The FATF Recommendations
Protect your business from financial crimes.


Pragya Agarwal
Global Head, Fincrime and Risk
Pragya is a financial crime practitioner with 20+ years of experience helping banks and financial institutions meet their regulatory requirements. She previously helped established Genpact’s FCRM service line, built & deployed risk and compliance services for multiple clients. She is CAMs certified.