Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession

Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession
“Sophilos Dinos” (wine-bowl) showing guests arriving at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. In the first car -Zeus and Hera, 2nd-Poseidon and Amphitrite. Source: British Museum (Wikicommons)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Can you spot a bad apple [rogue employee] ?

Suppose you are working in an asset management business and there is a bad apple: someone who breaks the rules and diverts your funds for their personal gain. You have compliance folks who are monitoring moves in and out of the market yet this person manages to avoid electronic detection.

What do you do ? Do you do what Bobby Axelrod does here in a show of rage and folly ? Well, no, not unless you make a Hollywood movie.



There's this question of how much an employer can intrude upon an employee's personal life based on how much we mix work with life outside of work. If we work 10 hours a day, need to sleep 5 hours, how much is there left for anything else ? If you have employees working occasionally from home, the question of monitoring their work becomes even more complex. Work is the major part of life.

If the rogue manages to escape workforce enforcement like video, email and messenger surveillance the organization could try to get more personal:


  1. One-on-one meetings and psychological assessments. Such meetings should reveal any sudden changes in the personal life of the employee.
  2. Be on the lookout for sudden expenditures that are above the earnings of the employee. Most people that are stealing will splurge on small and large luxuries = change in behavioral spending.
  3. If there's a "turncoat" like in the Billions movie, the spending wouldn't be triggered. The turncoat would have turned against you on personal reasons, with vengeance as the motive. As the manager of the organization you need to ask yourself: who wants to dig my grave and why ? How many people know this and that ? [A secret is not a secret if it is known by two or more]. Women are natural Machiavellic, deception is harder to detect in women than it is in men. However, there will still be changes as subtle as going rufus for a blond woman (dying her hair red) or just changing the color. That is why it is a good idea to keep tabs on ladies appearances. If a person has a large unexpected, perhaps catastrophic event (illness, death) it can trigger unlawful behavior for personal gain.
  4. Generally speaking, people that are moving up (getting promoted) in their jobs have less reasons to turn rogue. On the other hand, those who are passed by and don't get the necessary recognition could go the bad apple route.
  5. Here's another way: They are using too many words. Or they don't have any
  6. A lot of firms employ ex-law enforcement personnel. These people are trained to spot high risk behavior. They look for changing work patters: either "too happy" or "too withdrawn" (employee engagement dynamics), outsized gains or losses in the department.
  7. Most threats are internal. A lot of companies refer to services such as Thomson Reuters Clear
  8. A typical case timeline may look like this: Tip-->Internal review-->Management case-->Monitoring steps-->External audit-->Law enforcement case-->Confrontation/enforcement
  9. Very often, tips come from the closest to the offender: co-workers, girlfriends, exes.
  10. It may sound counter-intuitive but an employee that's extremely hard to replace- the "rainmaker"- is a high risk employee. He/she could unravel the organization simply by taking his business elsewhere (and for that so many firms employ Non-Compete Agreements) but also by turning rogue.

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