As financial criminals around the world employ ever more sophisticated techniques, and regulators increasingly push back, how are compliance practitioners in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) managing the growing pressure? A Refinitiv survey reveals significant challenges facing compliance professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa and the remedial steps they are taking through the adoption of new technology.
- A Refinitiv survey has tracked financial crime trends in SSA, including the standards and attitudes around compliance and the approach to data and new technology.
- To combat financial crime, compliance officers are investing heavily in more sophisticated technology, with 90 percent expecting significant change to their technology over the next two years, and are gleaning more information from the data that this technology provides them. However, there are weaknesses.
- The survey reveals that compliance practitioners in SSA are embracing digital identity. Meanwhile, there is also a high uptake for compliance programs focusing on anti-money laundering (73 percent), and anti-bribery and corruption (70 percent).
The risk posed by financial crime in Sub-Saharan Africa is one that the region’s compliance professionals are acutely aware of. Two-thirds of respondents to Refinitiv’s first financial crime in SSA survey reported that their organization had been the victim of some type of financial crime over the past five years.
The risk of financial crime has been a priority long before compliance became such a business-critical task. However, in a climate where new and multifarious risks appear almost daily, the Refinitiv survey particularly concentrated on how SSA-based compliance practitioners are managing the increased focus and pressure on their function.
The impact of COVID-19
Such issues have become even more important during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses around the world have gone into crisis mode, and a great number have raced to increase their online presence as quickly as possible.
During such turbulence, it is easy to overlook certain security issues. However, it is especially important to act cautiously in the midst of a crisis.