Most public attention on the private sector’s efforts against FinCrime is devoted to the role of financial institutions, and in particular, banks. This is quite logical, given the centrality of their roles as the gatekeepers of the financial system, and the parts they have unwittingly played in moving illicit funds around the global economy.
However, FinCrime does not touch the financial sector alone, and the vulnerability of professions such as lawyers and accountants to becoming the tools of financial criminality has become more apparent in recent years.
Estate agents’ services have also been abused by criminals seeking to ‘integrate’ illicit funds into the legitimate economy – indeed, the role illicit cash has played in property price booms has been widely reported. At the same time, the professions are still relatively minor reporters of suspicious activities to the authorities. Despite the warning signs, it does not appear that the professions have yet taken the issue as seriously as they should.
In this panel, our experts examine how financial criminals have made use of a variety of professional services to protect and enjoy their illicit funds, and ask why, so far, many firms in those sectors have failed to take FinCrime seriously. The panel will also consider ways in which regulators can encourage a more proactive approach, and how the wider private sector community can bring the professions into the fold.
• Matthew Redhead, Associate Fellow, RUSI.
• Dr Anna Bradshaw, Partner, Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP
• Dr Katie Benson, Lecturer in Criminology, Lancaster University.
• Ben Cowdock, Investigations Lead, Transparency International UK
• Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor, Propertymark