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Knowing who is sending and receiving money is vital in the fight against financial crime

The international banking community is rallying in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and cyber fraud. And as cross-border payments move to real time, financial crime compliance will become even more challenging.

At the same time, payment data volumes are increasing exponentially. These datasets lack standardisation, are often spread across multiple IT systems and subsidiaries, and are delivered in several formats.

Having access to accurate insights into payment data remains a key compliance imperative to help avoid financial loss and reputational damage.

Financial Institutions are realigning policy, data and systems to support new payments standards

The Wolfsberg Group’s guidance on payments message standards has been important in the enhancement of international paymenttransparency.

However, the full adoption will require Financial Institutions (FIs) to realign policy, data and systems to these new requirements and/or foster the development of enhanced market infrastructures. Legacy payments infrastructures may limit the amount of information that can be included in a payment due to the absence of sufficient field space.

Full implementation of ISO 20022 standards would support addressing these limitations.

How to leverage payment data and analytics to mitigate compliance risks
Protect against fraud

Addressing these requirements is no easy task

There are a myriad of challenging factors, including systems complexity, legacy infrastructure, the lack of standards, and the possibility of losing data throughout the payments chain.

The payments chain can span multiple counterparties and branches across the globe, which means that risk altogether is unclear.

The following steps can help you better address these challenges and proactively seek new ways to mitigate risk.

1. Get the big picture on payment activities

Attaining a complete view of all message data for payments and trade-related messages across branches and correspondents is key to identifying and quantifying global risk within your institution’s transaction activities.

Overlaying data from your in-house network with message data from the Swift network provides unique insights into payment flows without compromising data privacy and security.

Get the big picture on payment activities
Monitor for unusual behaviours

2. Monitor for unusual behaviours

FIs typically understand who they are receiving payments from, but struggle to identify the other banks that are sitting behind the transaction.

The ability to monitor payments traffic across your network can mean that you can proactively spot potential pockets of risk and ensure that your risk policies are being followed throughout the network.

These insights can be used for manual review as part of ongoing AML/CFT Anti-Money Laundering operational processes.

3. Enhance payment data quality by identifying flaws and blind spots

With the heightened regulatory focus on originator and beneficiary information, payments data quality needs to be constantly assessed.

This will help you identify problem areas and take the right action where needed to ensure that your payments meet relevant data quality standards.

Evidence from an independent source can enable you to discuss the subject with counterparties, when appropriate.

Boost data quality
Accelerate decision making with the latest analytics

4. Accelerate decision making with the latest analytics

Building a robust analytics programme from the ground up to deliver the insights that you need can be a costly and time consuming exercise.

Consider the return on investment of building the tools and capabilities in-house versus the adoption of purpose-built analytics tools that you can configure according to your risk appetite and reporting requirements.

5. Take a community approach to addressing these challenges

Compliance teams are continuously challenged by unexpected costs that impact departmental efficiency. As the regulatory landscape evolves, it is even more critical to leverage the right data and technologies to make the best risk-based decisions.

Swift is working hand-in-hand with the entire community to expand its analytics portfolio to help you respond to these challenges. Our solutions deliver extensive insights into payment data quality and transaction flows across your network, so that you can monitor and address financial crime risk with pinpoint precision.

Read more: Embrace shared solutions to meet the new reality of instant payments

Financial Crime Compliance - Work as a community

Download: How to leverage payment data and analytics to mitigate compliance risk

5 key steps compliance professionals need to take to better harness payment data for compliance risk and achieve greater efficiencies.