Financial crime has risen during the pandemic, with criminal
opportunists taking advantage of the unprecedented situation and
disruption caused by COVID-19. With the attacks still coming as
everyone lives are turned upside down, many are wondering how best
to hold back the tide.
Someone who knows a lot about this is Martin
Markiewicz the CEO and co-founder of Silent
Eight, a company that uses AI to combat money laundering
and terrorism financing. Here Martin shares his thoughts on how
financial institutions can best combat global financial crime.
Martin Markiewicz, CEO and
Founder, Silent Eight
By any measure, 2020 was a difficult year, with a rising tide of
financial crime adding to the disruption and pain caused by the
global pandemic. Criminals are capitalizing on the impact of
COVID-19, and with many of us forced to abandon our usual routines
in favour of working, learning, shopping and socializing online,
the attack surface continues to balloon in size.
In response, the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) has called for more resources to be diverted to
countering the acceleration of money laundering and terrorist
financing activity, highlighting the new threat vectors that have
emerged as a
direct result of the pandemic. And, unsurprisingly, many
financial institutions are reviewing the tools they have at their
disposal to fight this growing problem.
Firms traditionally try to manage global risks with regional or
data-reliant solutions. In practice, this means dealing with the
impact of incomplete data that is often from disparate systems. The
situation is further complicated by the fragmented nature of global
anti-financial crime regulation, with rules based on FATF standards
inconsistently applied between nations. This yields differing
approaches to financial crime prevention and sometimes wide
variations in the penalties applied for breaking the law.
Amidst this landscape, the challenge for FIs is how to account
for local nuance while driving global consistency in a
cost-efficient, risk-averse way â all while striving to satisfy
different regulatory requirements from the same compliance
process. And the criminals weâre up against are savvy. When one
firm gets it right, they just move to the next one and so on as
they hop from institution to institution looking for
How Can We Combat This Scourge?
At Silent Eight we believe itâs through combining leading data
science and technology with the knowledge that already exists
within institutions. Financial firms already know what they want
to do: they have governance procedures in place, and existing
policies they create and modify. What can be absent though is an
efficient way of immediately executing them to address changes in
alerted parties. And to do so efficiently.
In response, firms are increasingly turning to solutions like
our own, which actively learns what investigators are doing on the
ground, how they do it, and why. This empowers institutions to
decide what ideal financial crime compliance looks like for them
and drive best practices up the chain. A continuous learning
approach also helps firms to replicate winning strategies, while
natural language processing (NLP) enables the system to explain its
reasoning in plain English, audited for any future review.
This AI-powered âassisted intelligenceâ approach to fighting
financial crime puts the power back in the hands of institutions,
providing full auditability, making a virtue of the globalised
nature of financial crime compliance by allowing firms to harness
the best of their international practices, and delivering better,
more efficient tools to help institutions win their battle against
Bottom line, we see this as an âANDâ rather than an
âORâ, freeing firms from the need to choose between AI and
human investigators, and between efficiency and de-risking. Only by
using the best of technology AND human capabilities, and by
de-risking AND driving greater efficiencies, can we take the
biggest bite out of financial crime. And thatâs precisely what
we have the privilege of waking up each day to achieve.