Money laundering crackdown

20 September 2004
Banks worldwide have spent 61 per cent more over the last three years on anti-money laundering (AML) systems, according to a global study by KPMG.

The trend is set to continue with most banks expecting spending to increase by over 40 per cent over the next three years. It demonstrates that much remains to be done to enhance anti-money laundering systems and controls.

The global chairman of KPMG Forensic, Adam Bates, says: "Increased regulation and fears over financing of terrorist groups has undoubtedly boosted investment in AML measures and the banks have rightly identified transaction monitoring and training as key areas for investment."

Two thirds of respondents (67 per cent) indicated that they have generated an increased number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) over the last three years.

Monitoring account transactions across territories was found by the report to be poorly joined up, with 46 per cent of those operating in six to ten countries unable to monitor a single customer's transaction or account status across several different countries.

The global chairman of KPMG's Financial Services practice, Brendan Nelson, said: "The survey shows that Anti-Money Laundering is still very much 'work in progress' within the banking industry, with plenty of work left to be done."

Mr Nelson added: "It is nonetheless clear that banks are committed to playing their role in the war against money laundering and international terror, and also that they want their role to be effective."

He concluded by saying: "We must not lose sight of the fact that this is about fighting criminality, not about box-ticking."
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