The ability to change

Authored by Geetha Kanagasingam Tizi


Financial crime, and specifically anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, remains a major problem for many businesses today.

According to research conducted by North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti, many of the top risks facing businesses relate, either directly or indirectly, to financial crime. It has become a part of doing business that business leaders cannot ignore or ‘turn a deaf ear to’. Furthermore, regulators are keeping a watchful eye as advancing technologies provide more platforms for sophisticated financial criminals. As a recent example, on 28 January 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) enforced the new Payment Services Act, which enhances the regulatory framework for payment services in Singapore to strengthen consumer protection and promote confidence in the use of e-payments.

It is worth remembering the purpose of such regulatory scrutiny, from the perspective of both the business and broader society. For a relatively new FinTech, for example, complying with such regulatory requirements will inevitably be costly but it will protect their business, customers and reputation. More broadly, financial crime – including drug trafficking, human trafficking, modern slavery, child labour, forced prostitution, illegal arms/terrorism, environmental crime and wildlife trafficking – has a damaging impact on society. The reality is that behind all the tools, regulations, requirements and reporting there are real human beings.

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