Risk Intelligence Insights

Collaboration in the fight against financial crime: LSEG hosts a new forum to explore solutions to an evolving landscape

Che Sidanius

Head of Financial Crime at LSEG Risk Intelligence

LSEG has hosted its inaugural Combatting Financial Crime Forum in London, bringing together key players from some of the largest banks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss and debate the challenges of evolving financial crime.

  • Financial crime levels are surging and global efforts to fight this illicit activity need to be both more effective and more efficient.
  • The LSEG-hosted inaugural Combatting Financial Crime Forum in May 2024 brought together key players to discuss and debate the challenges that define this evolving space. 
  • Partnerships and sustained collaboration are needed to successfully fight back against criminal networks.

An evolving financial crime landscape

Alongside accelerating global digitalisation, financial crime – which extends to bribery and corruption; money laundering; fraud; theft; cybercrime; human trafficking; and more – is surging. As bad actors continually find new ways to exploit loopholes and leverage technology to commit a range of crimes, the financial crime landscape is evolving – and this means that global stakeholders must partner and collaborate to fight criminal networks with efficacy.

The financial statistics surrounding illicit activity are eye-wateringly high, but the true cost extends far beyond the numbers. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reveals that estimates put the value of funds laundered each year in the region of EUR 715 billion and EUR 1.87 trillion, equating to between 2% and 5% of global GDP [1].

Significant harm results from financial crime, and the ripple effects permeate society in myriad ways – from promoting illicit drug use and indirectly exposing consumers to a range of harmful chemicals, potential injuries and even death, to facilitating modern slavery, causing irreparable harm to our natural resources, and more. Moreover, pervasive criminal activity undermines public trust and hampers global economic growth, with far-reaching consequences.

The Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime (GCFFC), founded in 2018 by Europol, the World Economic Forum and Refinitiv (now LSEG), has consistently highlighted that global efforts to fight criminal activity need to be both more effective and more efficient, and has drawn attention to the “very significant” costs that are involved in fighting this form of crime. 2023 research suggests that the estimated worldwide financial cost of compliance borne by financial institutions amounts to US$ 206.1 billion [2]. 

In recognition of the scale and impact of this illicit activity, LSEG hosted the inaugural Combatting Financial Crime Forum in London on 16 May 2024, bringing together the Chief Compliance Officers of some of the largest banks in the MENA region with a European presence.

The Combatting Financial Crime Forum

The forum was established as a vehicle to bring key players in the financial crime risk space together to discuss and debate the challenges of an evolving space. 

David Wilson, Head of Risk Intelligence, LSEG, welcomed the delegates before the group heard from a range of experts unpacking different aspects of criminal behaviour, including a deep dive into criminal tactics and the impact of a dynamic sanctions landscape.

Later in the day, the crucial role of compliance against a backdrop of surging crime was explored, along with an update on the work of the GCFFC and the effectiveness of FATF, and a presentation on AI in the evolution of financial crime.

The forum concluded with a panel discussion, closing remarks and a market close photograph, followed by a networking opportunity.

Image shows the London Stock Exchange welcoming the MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group - Europe for a Market Close ceremony in celebration of its first inaugural event since its inception in 2021.

Welcoming the MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group - Europe for a Market Close ceremony in celebration of its first inaugural event since its inception in 2021. 

A call to action

Che Sidanius, Head of Financial Crime at LSEG Risk Intelligence, points to global partnerships and collaboration as the key tools that can help turn the tide on surging financial crime.   

Echoing the words of the GCFCC Information Wall 2021, which reminds us that, “corporates, charities and governments must share data and work together if they are to take down criminal gangs and traffickers” [3], he stresses that only by working together, and sharing intelligence, data, insights and resources, can global stakeholders make a real difference when it comes to combatting financial crime.

Sidanius concludes, “By bringing together a range of key actors all dedicated to fighting corruption, we hope to make real headway in the global fight against criminal networks. Our partnership with the MENA banks involved in this inaugural forum, many of whom are our valued clients, underscores their – and our – commitment to sustained collaboration as we successfully tackle the ongoing challenges presented by an evolving financial crime landscape.”

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