Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLC, a unit of the Big Four firm, has launched a new think tank designed to analyze fraud, corruption and other issues facing the global business community. The Deloitte Forensic Center will focus on exploring fraud-prevention issues with attorneys, regulators, academic experts, investigators and accountants involved in forensic matters. Areas of study will be decided by an informal, independent panel of advisors -- one of whom is former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker -- and lead by Frank Hydoski, director of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, and Deloitte partner Toby Bishop. Hydoski and Bishop are full-time members of Deloitte FAS's Forensic & Dispute Services Team. The directors anticipate each area of study, when decided, will take about four months to publish its findings, and expect two to three more topics to be explored within the next year. "A number of our practitioners have noticed business leaders are increasingly asking us questions," Bishop said during a press conference at the center's launch. "It was a risk most organizations didn't have to deal with. What we've seen over the last 10 years is an evolution [that] fraud and corruption are endemic issues." Bishop said that another goal of the DFC is to play a role in "thought leadership" on fraud and corruption issues, and to take the information the organization already has on such matters and figure out how to apply it more effectively. For example, in trying to find what techniques work best to limit the prevalence of corruption, the group will ask questions addressing whether it is better to approach change within the corporate culture through anti-corruption policies or work on the governmental level to create preventive laws. "Fraud has increased over the last decade in its reach and impact but many business leaders have grown up in an era where it's not a big deal, it happened to bad companies," Bishop said. "If they choose not to deal with it, they are in for some unpleasant surprises. But persuading people that they need to do something about it is very hard."

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