Snakes and ladders game to battle fraud
Snake and ladders

Kenanga creates anti-fraud games to get company-wide participation in 6-week fraud awareness programme

By HABHAJAN SINGH

Snakes and ladders, jigsaw, Scrabble and cyclothon. Now, how do you weave them into a fraud awareness programme?

That’s exactly what the folks at Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd have done for their maiden fraud awareness event. To add to the buzz, they even have Fraud Buzzer, a television-style quiz competition taking place at their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

“Pure classroom sessions would be boring. We wanted it to be visual and fun. Our objective is to humanise learning in a way that will appeal to everyone’s senses,” Kenanga group chief regulatory and compliance officer Maheswari Kanniah told The Malaysian Reserve.

“So, we have created anti-fraud games and got company-wide participation through teams. Indirectly, they will be forced to read all the relevant policies in place, relating to fraud, governance and ethics, and this will create or instil awareness on fraud-related matters,” she said.

Kenanga Investment

Ganesh (left) and Maheswari at Kenanga headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Maheswari says the business units are first layers to face frauds (Pic by Habhajan Singh/TMR)

Twenty-four teams took part in the preliminary round for the snakes and ladders competition.

The six-week programme is held in conjunction with this year’s International Fraud

Awareness Week, a global initiative by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), which claims to be the world’s largest anti-fraud body.

The event has caught the attention of the ACFE officials in Texas, US. It seems Kenanga is the first outfit to organise such games in the quest to promote anti-fraud awareness.

“This is very exciting. She (Maheswari) did not just get the compliance people to be involved, but everyone. Even the administration people have been taking part,” said ACFE Asia-Pacific partner- ship manager Ganesh Thuraisingham.

In 2015, Kenanga became ACFE’s first corporate alliance partner in Asia.

Tone at the Top

The programme, running from Oct 9 to Nov 17, began with the Kenanga senior management walkabout to various departments, asking fraud-related questions.

Talking about the importance of cultivating an anti-fraud culture, Maheswari said financial institutions are expected to conduct their operations ethically and responsibly.

“As such, we believe that tone at the top is essential in driving the message across, to create the mood in the middle and eventually the buzz at the bottom. If the senior management team of an organisation doesn’t walk the talk, then, convincing the middle managers and junior staff might be a problem.

“We take the stand that compliance is everybody’s responsibility in that the control functions are not the only parties to be carrying the burden of managing fraud,” she said.

She said the business units are first layers to face fraudsters or be the target; hence, their active participation in the fight against fraud should be encouraged.

“They are the frontiers of the organisation, ie the great wall who faces the fraudsters in their everyday dealing with clients, vendors and other third parties,” she said.

The outcome from such a programme is immense, she said. Direct losses, fines and other legal sanctions may be altogether averted via awareness, and adoption of preventive measures. The measures would be able to serve as a mitigation factor to avoid penalties, if a rogue employee engages in fraud or corruption.

Anti-Fraud Policies

As part of its pro-active measures against fraud, Kenanga has put in place the Group Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy, Group Anti-Fraud Bribery and Corruption Policy, Group Fraud Reporting Policy and a Conflict Management Policy.

The policies set out the behaviour that is expected of its employees and representatives, when carrying out activities towards setting a common standard of practice across the organisation.

“Generally, these policies are intended to provide a basic reference point to combat fraud, bribery and corruption, or prevent situations in which fraudulent, bribery-related and corrupt practices may take root, and is not intended to provide definitive answers to such concerns.

“The reporting obligations on any suspicion, detection or occurrence of fraud are well entrenched in these policies,” she said.

Over and above these policies, Kenanga also has the Whistleblowing Framework for employees, to raise any concern or suspicion of fraud towards ensuring independency, while establishing the expected safeguards to reporting employees.

“We have a group fraud reporting officer. I’m the designated whistleblowing officer. These are names lodged with the regulators,” Maheswari said.

After talking for about an hour, Maheswari excused herself. It was time to check on which team won the latest snakes and ladders game.