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With instant payments, new crypto and transaction methods emerging every week, we?ve never been more interconnected. So when something as horrific as war returns to Europe, we?ve never had more tools to lead; to stand up to aggressors and collectively safeguard our financial system.
The costs of financial crime are eye-watering. Criminals launder ?2-4 trillion every year, but under the current compliance practices 1-2 per cent of this criminal cash is successfully intercepted. Criminals are successful because they work in well-functioning large networks where they can easily, and quickly, share the information they need. And left unstopped, that money continues to fund weapons, drugs, human-trafficking.
Financial institutions, on the other hand, have traditionally worked alone without the ability to securely and efficiently exchange intelligence to better stop criminal money. Without sufficient intelligence, financial companies lack the ability to make fast decisions to detect, deter and disrupt crime.
It takes a network to beat a network
Organisations and nations across the world are looking for better ways to collaborate and financial intelligence sharing, both nationally and across borders, offers a solution. However, while financial regulators increasingly call upon the industry to share more intelligence, uncertainty surrounding data privacy obligations still poses barriers for the industry to take more courageous steps towards real action.
If we wait for the government or regulators however, a historic moment is lost. Today, it's the financial community that can drive better cooperation - to stop criminals, to coordinate meaningful sanctions - and fast enough to have real-world impact for those directly affected by crime or war. Some great innovations are already happening across Europe, in Scandinavia, Baltics and beyond, as detailed by initiatives such as RUSI's Future of Financial Intelligence Sharing studies and the Financial Action TaskForce's own stocktake on Data Pooling.
GDPR is not a blocker
Very often GDPR is seen as the main blocker for facilitating industry-wide intelligence sharing, and there is a lot of discussion around how we can better balance anti-money laundering (AML) and GDPR to effectively fight financial crime. We shouldn't look at GDPR as the blocker stopping industry to innovate, but rather an enabler. GDPR sets the rules of the game, but it's up to the industry to figure out how best utilise the opportunities and be courageous enough to start experimenting, even with small steps.
On 15 March we held a session for fincrime industry experts across Europe taking up the discussion on how to overcome the barriers of financial intelligence sharing to foster industry-wide collaboration, sharing the experiences from different countries on how to fight crime more effectively. To hear the discussion please follow the link to the recording here.
Taavi Tamkivi, CEO & Founder, Salv