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Financial Crime Never Sleeps… Updates from a 24/7 (Round The Clock) Virtual Conference!

Financial Crime never sleeps. To those of us in the FinCrime world we know this saying all too well and understand now more than ever that we must remain on our toes if we have any chance of fighting the good fight against the bad guys. Luckily, there are great tools and resources available for us to learn, upskill and embed in our practices which we love sharing with our clients!

Recently Murray Waldren Consulting attended a one of its kind Virtual Financial Crime conference hosted by ACAMs (the one we told you to go to and complete the free Modern Slavery Course) it ran for 24+ hours straight and hosted some great speakers globally. Case studies, best practices and typologies were discussed throughout the marathon event with an agenda that covered:

  • The global regulatory landscape, with an eye to how regulators such as AUSTRAC are adapting to COVID-19 while preparing for a digitalised future and a post-pandemic world
  • The rise of the professional money laundering class, with a look at how innovative criminals are being countered regionally and globally by regulatory technology and agile law enforcement (particularly in the pandemic)
  • The rise of the new compliance officer, who possesses a broad range of skills beyond compliance, including knowledge of enterprise-wide systems and other valuable proficiencies.

We wanted to share with you some key discussion points and themes that were prominent throughout the sessions. These were some of the areas we continue to embed into best practices and focus points that should be of interest for you in the coming months as well as some interesting and recent innovative criminal behaviour!

  • Risk Assessments and change risk – this one was a key theme and was emphasised throughout the conference particularly where changes have been made during the CVD19 pandemic, regulators will look back at this time and look for evidence regarding Financial Crime changes to process, procedure and ongoing activities. This is a focus for AUSTRAC in particular!
  • Changing threats and scams and key areas of vulnerability particularly new online users. There has been a significant rise in Cybercrime and scams. Criminals are changing their behaviour to adapt and take advantage of the global situation by preying on the vulnerable. Criminals are not only targeting individuals but businesses, especially those that are struggling. Criminals are looking to these businesses to invest their cash that they are unable to lauder so frequently right now into these businesses. Make sure you know who are doing business with and focus on due diligence, customer verification and KYC processes (did someone say Beneficial ownership vigilance?!)
  • A rise in business email compromise scams has increased. Be aware! Make sure that you are cross referencing your invoicing making sure that the email is valid, the account details are correct, and that the instruction makes business sense and please do not click on any links!
  • Online users are an easy target especially those that are of younger age who are susceptible to falling into the hands of offenders. Being vigilant and open with children about exploitation through education and awareness is a way we can combat these heinous crimes.
  • Digital fraud is always evolving, social media platforms are purporting to be holiday companies as restrictions lift to exploit and scam people daily. More and more people are buying goods online to alleviate the boredom, and criminals are all over this by falsely advertising anything that can lead to the stealing credentials or funds from the consumer. Ensure that websites are legitimate, genuine and if in doubt – research is key!
  • Senior officials and regulators from across the globe spoke at length regarding how AML supervision is evolving, including how leveraging data analysis and new technologies to fight financial crime in an increasingly digital world will be key in the coming years. New technology will certainly come with a price tag but may be a good investment in the long run. New technology will bring efficiencies and effective compliance which in turn will bring a more streamlined customer experience.
  • Traditionally, compliance officers were lawyers or bankers back in the 90’s, by 2000 – 2015 depicts a rise in consultants, ex law enforcement and former regulators. Now there is a shift to those with specific legal and business understanding, investigation skills, and leadership skills with some experience in data and technology. Behind this change there is the need for compliance officers to be able to explain to regulators the technology and processes used, how it is embedded and how it is in line with regulators expectations. Interesting!

We are hoping to attend as many conferences as we can and while attending in person is always great, virtually isn’t so bad (you can still share a glass of red with your colleagues!).  These events will become more common of the future and we look forward to continuing to share the knowledge we gain with our CC members.   Training, education and awareness is so important – so let us know if you have any questions, need some assistance or if you wanted to simply talk through some of the points above, we would be happy to – we love a brainstorming and knowledge sharing chat at MWC!

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