Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Mr Teo Chee Hean
ISCA Advisor, Mr Teo Ser Luck
Director Commercial Affairs Department, Mr David Chew
Chief Forensic Accountant, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong, Mr Allen Ng
Director, Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, Mr Wong Hong Kuan
Distinguished guests Ladies and gentlemen Good Morning
Welcome to the inaugural ISCA Financial Forensic Conference.
Increasing Complexity and Frequency of Financial Crime
In this age of digitalisation and rapid technological advancement, financial crime has become more frequent and complex. Over the last two years, there have been high-profile reports of asset misappropriation at a co-operative society (1) and a major departmental store (2) , as well as payroll fraud at an offshore marine engineering firm (3). The consequences of such financial crimes can be severe, whether in the form of monetary or reputational loss.
As the top digital nation in the Asia Pacific (4) , and a global financial centre, Singapore has to be especially vigilant against white-collar crimes.
Today’s businesses have to fortify themselves against all types of illegal financial activities, including money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, and insider trading. To do so, you need a workforce with the knowledge and skill sets to put in place preventive measures, manage risks, and utilise the latest technology to detect fraudulent activities.
As experts who are skilled in uncovering financial misconduct, forensic accountants play a crucial role in maintaining Singapore’s reputation as a global business hub. The importance of forensic accountants in combating financial crime is illustrated by a recent case of a local company found to have overstated its group sales figures. In this case, the figures were inflated by round-tripping interested party transactions between the company and its subsidiaries.
Financial forensics is set to grow in importance and complexity, with the nature of financial crime becoming more sophisticated, more digital and more transnational.
Launch of the ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting Qualification
To meet the needs of the industry, I am pleased to announce that ISCA will be launching the ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting Qualification or ISCA FFA Qualification in short. This is the first financial forensic accounting qualification offered by a professional body in Southeast Asia.
As the national accountancy body, ISCA has been preparing the profession for the future economy. This includes offering specialisation pathways which enable accountancy professionals to deepen their area of expertise in high growth areas. The ISCA FFA Qualification is another pathway for existing and aspiring financial forensic professionals to further their professional development.
The ISCA FFA Qualification is not just open to those with a degree in accountancy or finance but also professionals currently working in financial forensic related fields such as law enforcement and financial crime compliance and investigation.
The applied learning programme comprises four modules that cover forensic accounting methodology and investigation approaches; digital forensics investigation, data analytics and cyber response; financial crime compliance and investigation in banking and finance sector.
It will also cover professional requirements on the code of professional conduct and ethics as well as anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidelines. KPMG Singapore will be providing practical workshops for three of the modules, which includes a mock investigation.
This landmark programme is developed with inputs from leading financial forensic professionals from both the public and private sectors to ensure it is market-relevant and practical. We also engaged leaders from financial institutions who are involved in financial and regulatory compliance for their inputs.
Upon completion of all four modules and acquiring relevant years of experience in financial forensic related fields, candidates will be conferred the ISCA Financial Forensic Professional, or ISCA FFP credential.
Through this programme, aspiring accountants can pursue a career specialising in financial forensics that will enable them to become a white-collar crime fighter.
For those who are already practising in the field, this programme enables experienced financial forensic professionals to deepen their expertise and attain a professionally recognised credential. There is also a provision for experienced ISCA Members specialising in financial forensics to be grandfathered and conferred the ISCA FFP credential.
In our first conference on financial forensics, we have brought together experts not just from Singapore but also Hong Kong. It takes diverse parties to work together to combat financial crime. Today, we have representatives from diverse fields, including banking and finance, cyber security, forensic accounting and law, who will share their wealth of knowledge with you.
I hope you will find the sessions useful and enlightening. May you have a fruitful time here at the conference.
(1) Siau Ming En and Kelly Ng, “Two charged with stealing S$5m from Stat Boards co-op”, Today, 21 December 2016 (2) http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/former-takashimaya-employee-jailed-for-misappropriating-about-s180k/ (3) Koh Wan Ting, “Woman guilty of misappropriating more than $1 million from her company (4) Jacquelyn Cheok, “Singapore is top Digital Nation in the Asia-Pacific”, Business Times, May 25, 2017