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Anti-Money Laundering: The Importance of Collaboration

At the end of 2022, I hosted a podcast alongside Nelson Yiannakou of Revolut about how we as an industry can improve our anti-money laundering processes and better tackle financial crime.

Following on from our illuminating discussion, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the importance of collaboration within the financial sector. 

The United Nations estimates that the amount of money laundered globally in one year is an eye-watering $2 trillion, around the same as the GDP of countries like South Korea and Canada. 

Let that sink in for a moment. 

We live in an ever more collaborative and connected world, and while this can be a fantastic opportunity to cooperate, industry limitations could be holding us back when fighting off determined financial criminals. 

Nelson offered his thoughts on Anti-Money Laundering issues handled regionally in Australia and internationally - and how regulations make collaboration difficult.  

"It's a collaborative arena, it's not a competitive one, yet we're limited in our ability to share data domestically, let alone globally, to combat crime and operate more efficiently, effectively, and economically," he said. 

That got me thinking. Global collaboration and cross-communication are undoubtedly crucial to tackling global AML issues, and I’m a firm believer that collaboration is key. It is a global issue that requires a global solution. 

Taking a siloed approach to these industry-wide issues means less communication, it means lower industry confidence from business to business or business to customer, and it ultimately leads to deficiencies when looking to prevent financial crime. 

Unfortunately, some institutions also treat anti-money laundering solutions as regulatory red tape rather than something which, when effectively implemented, builds trust and value in equal measure. 

And, with cybercriminals continually seeking to outsmart and break through stringent AML solutions - why make it easier by having insufficient checks and balances in the first place? 

Nelson described a successful anti-financial crime professional as "a person who is absolutely passionate about combating crime". 

After all, he said, "if you're not committed and passionate, you won't connect the dots across disparate information." I firmly believe that this passion and commitment to the cause is evident, so combining this with a collaborative network of like-minded individuals can surely only be a good thing? 

To Nelson and others like him, this isn't just a job. It's about something more profound. He told me that he ultimately loves helping society become a better place to live.

Speaking to experts like Nelson, the future does look brighter when it comes to cracking down on financial crime, but we need to strike while the iron is still hot. By utilising technology and sharing information, we can take the power out of the hands of nefarious cybercriminals and firmly tip the scales back in favour of financial institutions. 

Fraudsters are constantly evolving; pressing against the dams and trying to force their way through our defences. If they see a crack, they'll burst through and expose inadequate defences. Let's not make it easy for them; let's see greater collaboration and cross-border tactics in tackling money laundering and other financial crimes this year and for the years to come. 

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Ian Henderson

Ian Henderson

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

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