Swiss Investigations Capability Survey
Assessing maturity levels
In mid-2020, Deloitte Forensic Switzerland, in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Investigators (ACi), undertook a survey of corporate investigators across the breadth of Swiss industry and commerce. Our aim was to better understand the level of maturity amongst Swiss investigation functions, considering their nature and make up, how they are organised, their reporting lines, their capabilities and how those working in investigations believe their work impacts the rest of the organisation. Our intention with this survey was to focus on those investigators based in and working in Switzerland, and to understand whether the local legal and regulatory environment affects how investigations are conducted.
We focussed our questions on several key aspects of investigations functions, namely:
- The functions strategy, purpose and risk
- The size, capability and set up of the investigations function
- Policies and processes including the use of Speak Up lines and GDPR considerations
- The use of data and technology in investigations
- Whether required training and development needs are met
Nic Carrington, Partner in our Forensic practice met with Steve Young, CEO of the ACi and Group Compliance Head of Fraud and Investigations, Bank Lombard Odier, along with Katie Hodson, Head of Investigations at The Global Fund to chat through some of the key findings of the survey and how they resonate for them in their day jobs. Watch their discussion in the video below.
We surveyed 45 key executives holding positions ranging from Head of Investigations, Head of Compliance, to Head of Legal, from Swiss based companies in the second and third quarters of 2020. The majority of the respondents came from the financial services, “not for profit” and consumer businesses sectors, followed by industrial products and the public sector.
Whilst the investigation functions surveyed are based in Switzerland, many are part of large global organisations and hence the operations of the investigations function is necessarily influenced by global trends and regulations and not just by Swiss ones.
Our survey clearly shows that, as expected, there are varying levels of maturity amongst in house investigation teams. Many investigation teams now possess the capabilities to cover many aspects of an investigation, for example including the technological / data management elements. Some more developed functions have evolved from being solely a reactive force put into action in crisis, typically viewed as a cost for the business, to being able to demonstrate their value by providing lessons learned, feedback loops to the business and to compliance departments in order to prevent future incidents.
We note that our data did not demonstrate that any one industry had investigations capabilities which were consistently more mature than others. Rather there are variations in the level of maturity across companies with some appearing more advanced in one area compared to their peers but nevertheless with areas where they could develop.
Key insights include
Strategy, Governance and Purpose
- 73% of respondents think their investigations capability has a clear strategic purpose that is linked to their code of conduct and values.
- 27% of respondents say their investigations capability has no articulated strategy.
- Two thirds of internal investigation teams are centralised.
- Respondents reported 50% or more of their teams were women.
Privilege & GDPR considerations in investigations
- 4% of all respondents perform their investigations entirely under legal privilege.
- 20% say that none of their investigations are performed under legal privilege.
- 40% of all respondents feel fully confident in determining how to deal with GDPR in investigations.
- 28% of respondents noted that they consult with internal and external counsel and the respective data protection officer with respect to GDPR concerns.
- 84% of respondents had a Speak Up (or Whistleblowing) Policy.
- 72% of respondents have a Speak Up line in their company and of these, half are managed internally.
Technology and Data
- 84% of respondents have in house tech capabilities to support investigations.
- 52% outsource their forensic technology or e-discovery needs.
Training and Development
- 40% of all respondents have a formal training programme for their investigators.
- 48% are unsure if the requisite training needs are being met.
In conclusion, it appears that there are still areas where investigation functions can increase their capabilities, be that in the skills/experience mix within the team (specifically in the areas of data analytics, technology more widely and financial crime), providing feedback on investigative outcomes on a regular basis, and helping to reinforce a strong ethics and compliance culture.
The remit of investigation functions is an ever widening one, and with that investigation teams will need to keep pace, upskilling their employees and leveraging technology enablers to facilitate focussed, cost effective and efficient investigative processes, building on improvements made out of necessity during COVID-19.