Suspicious activity reports (SARS) and cybercrime fears are among chief concerns for businesses on the financial crime landscape, specialists say.

FinCrime landscape

The conclusions come as part of The State Of Financial Crime 2022 report, which offers financial crime insights into SARs, cybercrime, crypto regulations, and the ever-changing sanctions ecosystem. 

Designed as a strategic guide for compliance teams, the report published by ComplyAdvantage lays out the emerging threats that governments and financial institutions will face in 2022, along with prescriptive recommendations for how compliance teams can respond, and ensure they’re able to act proactively.

The publication took in the views of 800 C-suite and senior compliance decision makers from North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The respondents represented a range of organisations across enterprise banking, investments, crypto, insurance and FinTech.

Chief among findings was the spiralling case numbers of SAR filings. Continued volatility of the financial crime landscape, alongside the rapid rise in new technologies and payment methods, was reflected in the claims made by 80% of firms surveyed who said they filed more SARs in 2021, compared to 70% who said the same in 2020. Almost a third of respondents (31%) said they filed 10–20% more SARs in 2021 compared to 2020.

Cybercrime also emerged as a growing source of anxiety for the businesses polled, overtaking fraud as a top challenge that need to be screened against. 

China, Russia and North Korea were identified as the top three nations that most firms are concerned about, in terms of the potential to launch widespread and destructive cyberattack campaigns against corporate systems. 

Experts noted how cryptocurrencies and virtual assets have steadily drifted into the mainstream – just 2% of the study’s respondents said they are not considering using crypto services and never will.

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Charles Delingpole founder and CEO of ComplyAdvantage, said:

“Reports are great but avoiding regulatory fines or business shutdowns is even better. As a company focused on counter-risk intelligence, we will continue to share our vital insights, so that our customers, partners and the greater FinTech ecosystem can protect their businesses from unwanted financial crimes.

“As the tide of new financial services is on the rise, so is money laundering and related crimes. Informed teams that are able to assess the known risks in the year ahead will be best placed to protect the integrity of their businesses,” Delingpole added.

Tom Keatinge, Director, Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies at RUSI, said:

“2022 will prove to be yet another challenging year, given the digital acceleration caused by the pandemic, the continued pace of innovation and market adoption of crypto services and the ever changing sanctions landscape ignited by ongoing geopolitics.

“Counter-risk intelligence will be a key element in ensuring the FinTech community remains current on the multifaceted threat trends that will confront their businesses,” Keatinge added.

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