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Treasury

Calls grow louder for inundated UK regulators to tackle AML fragmentation

The UK Treasury’s inquiry into economic crime has identified fragmentation and inconsistency within the current anti-money laundering (AML) regime, while the high volume of suspicious activity reports is proving overwhelming for the regulators. But new technologies could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

By Anna Fedorova



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According to HSBC, the UK Financial Intelligence Unit received 634,113 suspicious activity reports (SARs) between October 2015 and March 2017. The current AML regime is not well placed to allow regulators to “draw out the most pertinent risks from this data” and does not support the sharing of strategic priorities between the public and private sector, the bank said.

Visa Europe commented: “We see regulatory fragmentation as a risk in the policy landscape. It is in the interests of regulators, government, industry and consumers to avoid this, and we encourage political and regulatory stakeholders to work together for a harmonised international regulatory environment to tackle these issues.”

One thing banks, academics and campaigners agree on is that new technologies can help UK regulators tackle this problem. For example, it could be done by using big data analytics to collect data from a variety of sources, such as mobile devices, social media and geolocation data, and use this to detect fraudulent activity and hidden connections between accounts.

“Reform should aim to create a framework based on seamless cooperation between public and private-sector bodies, to reduce duplication and inefficiency and ensure that funds and expertise are focused on the highest sources of risk,” HSBC said.



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