HSBC Adds To AML Arsenal

Jackie Bennion, Deputy Editor, 7 January 2021


Teaming up with a Singapore-based provider, the bank is planning to integrate new risk tools that detect and help eliminate financial crime.

Global bank HSBC has stepped up compliance risk announcing a multi-year deal with technology provider Silent Eight. The partnership will support the bank's detection of financial crime.

Silent Eight’s platform investigates and resolves cases in the same way as an analyst would, but with greater speed, precision and consistency, the bank said.

"Given the growth in alert volumes, and unpredictable spikes driven by global volatility, we saw an opportunity with Silent Eight that would give us the ability to close alerts quickly and accurately," said HSBC's group head of compliance services, Matt Brown.

A Lexis Nexis report last year estimated that financial services firms spend an average of $14 million annually on AML compliance. The risk consultancy group puts direct compliance costs for US banks alone at $26 billion a year. This includes the rising costs of managing third-party payment providers and systems as well as the expected rising costs of an accelerated transition to digital transactions globally over the past 12 months.

HSBC’s AML lead Ben Rayner said that the business case presented by Silent Eight was “extremely compelling.” The Singapore-based fintech, which uses AI to create custom compliance models to recognise and help eliminate financial crime, operates in around 150 markets.

A raft of legislation globally is piling demands on the sector to clamp down on money laundering and report suspicious activity. Some of this pressure surfaced in leaked documents from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US Treasury's financial crimes unit, showing how much illicit money is sloshing around the global financial system. Out of the 2,657 documents given to journalists, 2,100 contained suspicious activity reports (SARs) covering roughly $2 trillion in transactions. While SARs are not evidence of wrongdoing, they wave a finger indicating that banks are not doing enough to curb dirty money flows.

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