Blackdot Solutions Spring Update

By Charles Brown

Spring Update

It’s been a packed few months in the world of anti-financial crime and money laundering. We’ve seen developments in the ABN Amro and NatWest Group investigations, the collapse of Greensill Capital and allegations of serious organised fraud, and the EU’s 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) came into force in June. Numerous events have provided forums for discussing these and other developments in AFC and AML. Here’s a summary of what we’ve found interesting in the first half of the year.

What we attended

Looking Beyond AI at the FinCrime World Forum

On 24 March Blackdot was invited to take part in a panel discussion at the FinCrime World Forum on the topic of Alternative Frontiers in Reg Tech: Going Beyond AI. The panel – which included experts from the FCA, Ernst and Young and BAE Systems – centred on how innovation in anti-financial crime (AFC) risk management tends to be dominated by AI, to the detriment of other approaches that have the potential to impact the AFC landscape substantially. You can view a summary of our thoughts on the topic here.

Assessing the Integrated Review: Illicit Finance, Sanctions and Organised Crime

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the Whitehall-based defence and security think-tank, hosted a panel discussion to assess the UK government’s ambition to address economic and financial crime as outlined in the Integrated Review of Security Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

Tom Keatinge, Director of RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies and expert on the nexus of finance and security, provided a balanced assessment. He welcomed the UK government’s recognition of financial and economic crime as a threat to UK interests and international stability, whilst also criticising the lack of properly articulated strategy and absence to date of tangible measures to tackle illicit finance. Ultimately, however, Keating expressed optimism about the future and looks forward to the pronouncements in the Integrated Review being translated into real-world actions.

Preventing Financial Crime Through Collaboration  

Refinitiv a leading provider of financial crime risk and compliance data and Blackdot Solutions technology partner – hosted an eclectic panel of experts to discuss how various collaborative initiatives are helping to fight financial crime.

Three key takeaways:

  • The importance of collaboration via a range of organisations – public, private, technology and not-for-profit – when trying to address financial crime
  • Collaboration is key to understanding and tackling some of the often-overlooked predicate crimes that fuel money laundering – such as human trafficking, conflict commodities and wildlife trafficking
  • The critical role of technologies that allow financial crime investigations professionals to better exploit open source or publicly available data

What we’ve been reading

FT article: Sanjeev Gupta and Greensill Capital

Videris was used by members of the FT’s investigative team to investigate and map out a complex network of companies connected to the collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital. The article makes for fascinating reading, underlining the importance of strong OSINT and network visualisation tools in financial crime and fraud investigations. 

Empowering the Investigator with Intelligent Automation

Leading AML commentator Matthew Redhead published an article in the Global Investigations Review on the emergence of an investigator-centric approach to AML compliance and its potential to have a genuine impact on financial crime.

In his article, Redhead argues that “To produce investigations that are genuinely useful in the fight against financial crime, investigators at financial institutions need to be empowered decision-makers“, adding that “Having the best investigative tools to hand enables businesses – and investigators themselves  –  to make risk-based decisions with confidence”.

His conclusion – that “It’s time to eschew the ubiquitous compliance-led mindset in AML/CFT (and its poor record for delivering positive outcomes) – and refocus on an investigator-led approach” will be thought-provoking for bankers, regulators and other compliance professionals. We wholeheartedly agree!

What we’re looking forward to

I will be speaking at the next FinCrime World Forum (22-23rd June) on the topic of Pushing for the RegTech Revolution: Removing the barriers to adoption in FinCrime. Sign up now to reserve your place for what is sure to be a fascinating couple of days.

New call-to-action