Mitigating Financial Crime Through Partnership

Oct  04 
Joyce Ethridge  Staff Writer 

Financial services organizations consider technology and outsourcing to fend off financial crime

Financial services organizations seem to be under attack from all sides. From payments fraud and identity theft to money laundering and cybercrime, financial crime can (and does) strike financial organizations and their customers at any time, through virtually any method. And as long as those methods keep changing (cryptocurrency, NFTs, real-time payments, mobile apps), crime will keep growing as criminals take advantage.

Consider these stats:

Compliance teams are working diligently to detect and prevent illicit activity, but it’s an enormous task. Threats can be initiated from anywhere in the world, through any channel. Criminal activities have become easier to hide as transaction speed and volume grow.

Analysts are trying to stop fraud in the moment, without disrupting legitimate accountholder or client experiences. Compliance officers are struggling to stay current on broad regulations and changing sanctions. Plus, most financial services organizations are short-staffed and squeezed by rising operational costs. The list of challenges goes on – and could be getting worse.

Most organizations expect financial crime loss to increase in coming years, according to a 2022 Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) survey sponsored by Fiserv. Those surveyed were all in the financial services industry – mainly fraud and anti-money laundering professionals representing banks, credit unions, investment firms, insurance companies and other organizations.

Respondents said fraud, cybercrime and cryptocurrency are the biggest threats to their organizations. And they may be changing their battle plan to prepare.

Building a Strong Defense  

About 70% of survey respondents said their organizations plan to significantly increase their investment in anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud prevention over the next three years.

 

Technology

Respondents said technology – including an integrated fraud and AML platform – is the most important tool to combat fraud. They want more efficient monitoring tools and faster detection methods.

Organizations can employ enhanced analytics, machine learning and data science to protect their institutions and optimize their analysts’ time. Sophisticated detection and alert tools enable compliance staff to focus on the highest-risk alerts while reducing false positives.

Respondents said they expect three things from a technology partner: financial crime expertise, access to extensive data resources, and easy integration into existing core banking services. About 80% of respondents want a partner that can provide an integrated fraud and AML solution.

By implementing advanced technologies from an experienced partner, organizations can overcome the limitations of outdated systems and gain greater efficiency while meeting the expectations of customers and regulators.

Staffing and Training

Staffing and training are top priorities, too. The shortage of employees has impacted compliance teams by making it difficult to find and retain qualified compliance teams. For instance, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, there are 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally. There is also a need to train current staff to keep up with financial crime and regulatory changes. This is undoubtedly why so many organizations plan to turn to managed services.

Partnering with Experts

Most financial services organizations lack the time and talent to build, maintain and staff sophisticated, proactive defenses. They’re looking to partners for financial crime prevention systems, infrastructure and processes. Nearly half of respondents (48%) believe most of their AML and fraud protection solutions will be outsourced as managed services in the next three years. 

 

Managed service providers are experts across the industry, so often they can spot crime trends faster and deploy quicker defenses. Outsourcing also helps organizations stay ahead of criminals within their current labor constraints.

A Team Effort

Financial services organizations need a strong team to detect and prevent financial crime. A partner can simplify and strengthen protection, streamline operational efficiency and help organizations stay ahead of emerging risks.