Dr Marcus Pleyer wants a move away from a ‘form-filling’ regulatory culture and has called on the G20 group of governments to lead the change in order to more effectively fight financial crime.

The Financial Action Task Force president, speaking at the Second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting on Wednesday said: “They [financial crime compliance officers in banks] make sure forms are filled in correctly but don’t focus on the real risks.

“As a result, fraudsters, scammers and criminals often get away with their crimes.”

Pleyer called for a greater focus on real risks, where high-risk transactions face tougher checks and lower risk businesses have fewer hurdles.

He said: “By focusing on the real financial crime risks, you can help detect criminal activity, stop legitimate business from facing unfair competition, and foster confidence in financial markets – all vital to the global economic recovery.”

A focus on the real risks will also prevent financial transactions and remittances in certain regions from being indiscriminately excluded and pushed underground, he added.

Pleyers’ words echo those of FATF executive secretary David Lewis, who last month said that AML needs to “made real” for compliance professionals as otherwise they can’t be expected to “do anything more than tick boxes”.

FATF  last month published new guidance on adopting a risk-based approach.

The G20 in a communique reaffirmed its support for FATF.

It said: “We confirm our commitment to tackling all sources, techniques and channels of ML/TF/PF, deserving a particular attention to COVID-19-connected financial crimes. We commit to further strengthening the FATF’s Global Network of regional bodies in order to reinforce the effective implementation of the FATF standards.”

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