Make Room for Creativity (So You Can Combat Financial Crime)
January 01, 0001

With great innovation comes great risk

The fintech industry has seen great leaps of innovation in the past few years. That’s definitely not a bad thing.

However it is also a reality that as more services, products, and platforms emerge, so do avenues for potential financial crime. It’s unfortunately too easy to forget that bad actors adopt innovative technologies as eagerly as consumers and businesses do; they just do it for more malicious reasons.

Increased innovation in fintech will increase risks of financial crime.

Get the manual stuff out of the way

Anti-money laundering (AML), one of the biggest areas in combating financial crime, is often a manual processes at many companies, and almost always an inefficient processes at that. At modern fintech companies, it not uncommon that this aspect of their business is an afterthought.

The norm has been to try and get AML compliance work done and over with in the most short-sighted way possible: doing it manually by hiring more people.

But this has lead to compliance remaining a slow and time-consuming process with little innovation. AML compliance departments are swamped, keeping up with the increasing volumes and complexity of AML investigations and screenings, which I believe stops companies from effectively combating financial crime.

Without creativity, addressing financial crime will always be a game of catch up.

Creativity and anti-money laundering in the same sentence?

This is where creativity comes into the picture. In order to effectively combat financial crime, I believe that businesses, and compliance departments in particular, have to make time to creatively look for solutions to the methods that bad actors use to perpetuate financial crime through their services.

This requires time, and the required time can only be allocated if we change the current way of working.

So take a step back, breathe, and get to work

Not back to the manual and time-consuming methods of performing AML screenings or investigations. Instead, take a step back from your current processes and identify where you can automate and make processes more effective.

How can you make the screening process simpler, more automated, and less likely to catch false positives?

How can audit trails become more reliable and easily reported to third parties?

How can we proactively identify suspicious behaviour, without relying on quickly outdated rule-based systems?

By abandoning the manual, box-checking work of the old way of doing compliance, you can look beyond just the next pile and start getting ahead of malicious behaviour on your platforms or services.

Brainstorm, experiment, and devise methods and workflows that will address financial crime in a meaningful way.

This is how you will use creativity to combat financial crime. This will make your business stronger, and position it as a forward-looking organisation. Indeed, the industry is already starting to predict this way of thinking as the future of AML:

The majority of investigations will be automated, KYC will be conducted in a seamless manner and machine learning will more effectively identify suspicious activity. As a result, the need for humans will move from conducting simple investigations/KYC reviews to operating as anti-financial crime specialists and providing guidance to their technology colleagues. (Source)


About the author

Siam is an experienced product leader with 8+ years of product and sales experience with a background in Facebook, Acast and FundedByMe.