Measuring effectiveness in international financial crime prevention: Can we agree on a performance metric?

Jayesh D'Souza, Florida International University


The attempts at carrying out terrorist attacks have become more prevalent. As a result, an increasing number of countries have become particularly vigilant against the means by which terrorists raise funds to finance their draconian acts against human life and property. Among the many counter-terrorism agencies in operation, governments have set up financial intelligence units (FIUs) within their borders for the purpose of tracking down terrorists’ funds. By investigating reported suspicious transactions, FIUs attempt to weed out financial criminals who use these illegal funds to finance terrorist activity. ^ The prominent role played by FIUs means that their performance is always under the spotlight. By interviewing experts and conducting surveys of those associated with the fight against financial crime, this study investigated perceptions of FIU performance on a comparative basis between American and non-American FIUs. The target group of experts included financial institution personnel, civilian agents, law enforcement personnel, academicians, and consultants. Questions for the interview and surveys were based on the Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology. One of the objectives of this study was to help determine the suitability of the BSC to this arena. ^ While FIUs in this study have concentrated on performance by measuring outputs such as the number of suspicious transaction reports investigated, this study calls for a focus on outcomes involving all the parties responsible for financial criminal investigations. It is only through such an integrated approach that these various entities will be able to improve performance in solving financial crime. Experts in financial intelligence strongly believed that the quality and timeliness of intelligence was more important than keeping track of the number of suspicious transaction reports. Finally, this study concluded that the BSC could be appropriately applied to the arena of financial crime prevention even though the emphasis is markedly different from that in the private sector. While priority in the private sector is given to financial outcomes, in this arena employee growth and internal processes were perceived as most important in achieving a satisfactory outcome. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, Public Administration|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

D'Souza, Jayesh, "Measuring effectiveness in international financial crime prevention: Can we agree on a performance metric?" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3380840.