Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fraud from within

Judging by my last few posts, you are probably beginning to think that FinancialTech Insider has it in for anti-money laundering systems and the banks implementing them. Make no mistake, we do feel that banks have got the raw end of the deal with financial regulators and governments effectively forcing them to police every financial transactions on their watch.

It is no easy task and despite banks throwing millions at the latest and greatest AML solutions, can any bank really say they have got it well and truly 'sussed?' The regulatory burden is only increasing with the Third EU Money Laundering Directive due to be implemented in 2008.

And as recent events have demonstrated, preventing fraud and AML is not just about monitoring transactions and implementing technology. In fact Innovations Softwaretechnologie of Germany says that transaction monitoring should not only cover the threat of fraud being committed by an external perpetrator, but also employee conflicts of interest,insider trading and market abuse.

According to a poll by KPMG of more than 220 banks across more than 50 countries, 33% of banks are not satisfied with the effectiveness of their own transaction monitoring systems, and less than 25% have the capabilities to monitor the transactions and accounts of a single customer across multiple international borders.

Why then is so much of the onus for policing financial transactions on the banks, when banks do not have the adequate systems in place to meet these requirements, and the internal threat from their own employees is not being adequately addressed?

At a time when trust in banks and government departments is being eroded, isn't it time for regulators, governments and banks to engage in a more serious debate about the effectiveness of current approaches to transaction monitoring and money laundering, rather than adding more complexity to an already unworkable solution?