Working in partnership is vital to understand and tackle the problem of financial crime. That’s why we’re building relationships with law enforcement agencies and other banks.

Governments, law enforcement agencies and banks all have a critical function in detecting, deterring and preventing financial crime. But financial crime is a complex, long-term challenge. No organisation can solve the problem on their own.

Sharing information is vital. Police forces and intelligence services gather insight about threats to public safety. By sharing their complementary sets of information, banks and law enforcement agencies can better focus their collective efforts to safeguard society.

But legal and regulatory barriers make it difficult to share information. Privacy and data protection laws sometimes prevent banks from sharing information between their own operations in different countries, let alone with third parties. The result is neither governments, law enforcement bodies nor banks are able to see the full picture.

HSBC acknowledges these challenges and is a strong proponent of public-private partnerships and information-sharing initiatives. It is helping to create such partnerships globally and plays an active or founding member role in a number of partnerships including:

  • Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT), UK
  • Fraud and Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (FMLIT), Hong Kong
  • The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Industry Partnership (ACIP), Singapore
  • Fintel Alliance, Australia
  • Anti-Financial Crime Alliance (AFCA), Germany

In these forums, banks exchange data with public authorities inside strictly defined parameters designed to balance privacy and data security with the need to tackle serious problems including human trafficking and terrorist financing. This approach has been shown to deliver results. The UK’s JMLIT, for example, has contributed to 130 arrests and the seizure or restraint of assets worth more than GBP13 million since 2015.

Banks themselves are also collaborating in the fight against financial crime. A well-established association of thirteen global banks in which HSBC is heavily involved, the Wolfsberg Group, aims to develop frameworks and guidance for the management of financial crime risks, particularly with respect to Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing policies.

In addition, HSBC is an active user of Know Your Customer (KYC) data exchange platforms (such as SWIFT KYC Registry) to help drive a more intelligence-based approach to financial crime risk management.