Half of compliance execs say AI & Tech is future of AML

Nearly half (44.6 per cent) of compliance professionals say that using emerging technologies such as AI and advanced analytics could help fight money laundering and financial crime, according to a study.

A survey of 200 UK anti-money laundering professionals by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a data and analytics company, also found that Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – the way in which businesses detect financial crime- could be improved through the use of technology.

The results of the survey come as the government release its Economic Crime Plan for 2019-2022m which will aim to improve information sharing across businesses to crackdown on financial crime and boost Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures.

The plan highlighted a rise in economic crime levels, with figures from the Office for National Statistics estimating 3.6 million fraud offences were committed in England and Wales in 2018, with fraud now accounting for almost one third of all crime experienced by individuals.

Recent fraud trends have seen thousands fall victim to push-payments fraud and become money mules, with the Home office estimating the cost of fraud to individuals as £4.7 billion per year.

Meanwhile the economic cost of organised fraud against businesses and the public sector in the UK is estimated to be £5.9 billion. In addition, UK Finance estimated that £1.2 billion was stolen by criminals committing authorised and unauthorised fraud in 2018, with the banking sector estimated to have prevented a further £1.7 billion in unauthorised fraud.

The survey found also found that more than 2 in five (40.1 per cent) of compliance professionals don’t think that the UK’s current regulatory framework for anti-money laundering is effective, while 47 per cent said that a lack of information sharing across businesses is the biggest barrier to fighting financial crime.

Information sharing was again highlighted as the solution for improving the SARs process by 35 per cent of respondents while one in five (19.6 per cent) said that an overall improvement of the SARs regime was the most effective way to combat money laundering.

Commenting on the government’s economic crime plan, Michael Harris, director of financial crime compliance and reputational risk at LexisNexis Risk Solutions said: “The government’s plan is certainly ambitious and challenging in terms of its 2022 completion date, but must be driven forward. It will need much-improved international co-operation to be a success.

He added:“As part of the reforms involve technology updates, Government must consult with service providers and those on the front line fighting economic crime to ensure that these efforts are actually effective.”

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