Every day around the world, acts of financial crime like identity theft or card fraud put our customers at risk. These seemingly unconnected acts are often part of a significantly larger issue. Left unchecked, sophisticated criminals use the financial system to bank the profits of systematic illegal activity.

Whether it is money laundering, human trafficking or the drug trade, financial crime is a global problem that costs the global economy as much as USD2.1 trillion a year. The human cost is incalculable.

We have a fundamental responsibility to help protect the integrity of the financial system. HSBC’s scale and global footprint put us in a unique position where we can make a positive contribution and be at the forefront of the fight against financial crime.

Our journey

We acknowledge that we have fallen short in the past. But, over the past few years, we have made significant progress in upgrading our ability to fight financial crime.

We have developed consistent global policies on anti-money laundering and sanctions and implemented them across all our operations, with standards often extending well beyond local laws.

HSBC is committed to only doing business with customers who meet our strict standards. We have ended relationships with customers where we felt that the financial crime risks were too great to manage effectively, and continue to invest in expertise, partnerships and systems.

    Expertise

    We are building a dedicated team of specialists in tackling financial crime and equipping all employees to speak up when something does not look right.

    Partnerships

    HSBC is working closely with law enforcement agencies to understand and tackle the problem of financial crime.

    Systems

    We are upgrading our technology to spot and analyse financial crime, and creating an integrated system that keeps criminals out of banking.

What this means for our customers

Knowing our customers better is key to protecting them from financial crime. HSBC needs to make sure all the information we have about our customers is accurate, up to date and complete. This will help our systems that detect criminal activity work more effectively.

HSBC Safeguard is a series of initiatives that safeguard customers’ money from financial crime by making sure the information we have about them is correct. Read more about HSBC Safeguard.

Looking to the future

Taking effective measures to detect, deter and protect against financial crime is crucial to achieving our ambition to be the world’s leading international bank.

As international markets become more interconnected and complex, and threats to the global financial system grow, we will continue to adapt our approach to stay one step ahead.

HSBC wants to become a recognised leader in managing financial crime risk, using our scale to make a positive contribution to fighting financial crime in the economies and communities where we live and work.

Colin Bell, Group Head of Financial Crime Risk, describes HSBC’s approach to detecting, deterring and protecting against financial crime.