Technology plays a crucial role in our fight against financial crime. That’s why we are investing heavily to create an integrated system that keeps criminals out of banking.
Over recent years we have substantially improved our IT infrastructure to spot and analyse financial crime, investing in new and upgraded systems.
Today, we screen more than 689 million transactions across 236 million accounts each month for signs of money laundering and financial crimes. But we continue to refine our approach.
In partnership with IT we have built a single environment that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, brings together customer and transaction data from across the group and external sources - helping us share information globally to manage financial crime risk effectively.
We are focusing our improvements on five areas:
- Customer Due Diligence – understanding our customers better and assessing them for financial crime risk
- Screening – checking customers and their transactions against relevant watchlists to spot for signs of financial crime, such as sanctions breaches
- Monitoring – looking for unusual activity on customers’ accounts by understanding typical patterns of customer behaviour
- Case management – enabling effective investigations of unusual activity
- Exit management – making sure we have a consistent and auditable approach to end our relationship with customers HSBC does not want to do business with
HSBC is constantly striving to improve the way we detect and prevent financial crime and explore technologies that help us build on existing capabilities. Fighting financial crime is a key area that can benefit from innovation and we’re working with and investing in a number of financial technology (fintech) firms that can help us achieve this.
Our investment is already delivering results. We launched a global social network analytics platform in 2018 which enables us to identify links between different customers and transactions, making it easier to see where there might be criminal networks. In 2019, the platform won two industry awards. Also in 2019, we became the first bank to introduce a system that will automatically screen all our trade finance transactions for potential signs of financial crime.
Over the coming years, we aim to evolve significantly our approach to financial crime risk management by using our size and scale to use all the data available to us and apply advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.
This will help us overcome some of the inherent limitations in the current industry-wide approach to financial crime risk management that uses a small amount of available information and results in a high number of false alerts.
This new approach, which we are calling intelligence-led financial crime risk management, will help us make a step change in our effectiveness at fighting financial crime and set a new standard that aims to lead the industry.
We will be faster and more accurate at detecting suspicious activity and in our risk assessments. We will generate insight that we can use ourselves and provide to law enforcement to help keep criminals out of the financial system. This will benefit the bank, our customers and society at large.
Next steps in the fight against financial crime
HSBC is harnessing artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to spot suspicious behaviour.