EY India strengthens forensic practice, expands in Bangladesh market

Bangladesh has risen as a formidable nation as it continues on a high growth trajectory, backed by a positive economic scorecard. EY India’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services practice has identified the region as a strategic pivot, having expanded its operations in the region considerably over the last six months. Being one of the '10 emerging markets of the future' and the second fastest growing economy in the world, Bangladesh has seen an influx of multi-national corporations and a burgeoning domestic sector. But the thriving environment has led to an increase in fraud risks that need to be addressed proactively.

Arpinder Singh, Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, EY India and Bangladesh said, “Organizations in Bangladesh are looking to capitalize on the business opportunities present but could potentially face challenges around fraud and misconduct. There is a need in the market for forensic services to enable corporates to build ethical business, foster transparency and at the same time, deter perpetrators. Bangladesh is a priority region in EY’s Vision 2020 Emerging Markets Strategy – we see the demand accelerating in the near future and are looking to double our team over the next one year.”

Some of the key sectors poised for growth here include ready-made garments, telecommunication, oil and gas, banking and power generation. But these sunrise sectors face risks around fraud, misappropriation, conflict of interest, counterfeiting, data security, gaps in the supply chain and workplace safety that can hamper profitability and erode brand reputation.

EY’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services practice has a dedicated forensic team catering the market, based out of Kolkata and Dhaka. The team possesses hands-on forensic experience of working in the region, are fluent in local languages (Bengali, Hindi and English) and have an understanding of the cultural nuances.

“The potential to drive growth is immense. To enhance business confidence, corporates in Bangladesh should build robust compliance programs, hire skilled personnel and deploy new age tools and techniques for sustainable growth. Sound corporate values, ethics and integrity can fuel better development in organizations.” adds Arpinder Singh.

To gauge the pulse of the market, EY India sub area’s forensic team recently did a study with over 100 senior corporate professionals to understand their perception of fraud and corporate misconduct in Bangladesh. The report titled Analyzing the undercurrents of Bangladesh’s risk landscape highlighted,

Almost half (48%) of the respondents said that their organization had not conducted anti-fraud, bribery and corruption trainings for the employees
1 in 4 executives believed that it is not the responsibility of company to monitor activities managed by their vendors or third parties
Almost half of the respondents said their company lost business to a competitor that they suspected won a contract unethically
70% said they would be comfortable blowing the whistle if they witness some unethical activity in the company

Bangladesh is a member of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, has seen exemplary increase in foreign direct investments, gross domestic product and remittances in infrastructure and services. Like emerging economies including India, leading organizations in Bangladesh need to increase awareness around the importance of implementing robust internal controls, creating anti-fraud frameworks, fostering transparency and building an ethical work place to enable ease of doing business, raise red flags early on and boost stakeholder confidence.