Combating Financial Crime in the Digital Age –What can we learn from CBA?

Just recently, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission confirmed it will investigate Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s handling of suspicions that its intelligent deposit machines were used by money launderers and criminal gangs. The bank allegedly breached anti-money laundering laws in Australia on almost 54,000 occasions.

This is just one of the many instances were banks as well as other financial and non-financial organisations faced financial crime or AML-related legal battles. As different institutions struggle in the battle against financial crime, regulators and financial firms are not only ramping up their anti-fraud efforts, but are also more strategically thinking about how fraud can be prevented. 

Banks are increasing budgets for bolstering IT security and compliance, often setting up an anti-financial crime department or cybercrime unit. Moreover, many institutions are tightening their customer acceptance policy and KYC procedures. Yet, financial crime is on the rise. 

According to PWC's 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey, more than 36% of organisations experienced economic crime - 64% of which were asset misappropriations. At least 32% suffered one or more cybercrime events that had a significant impact on their business. 

Financial crimes such as fraud, whether small or large-scale, have a deep impact on institutions, which goes beyond financial loss to the amount of time and money required to repair the damage. Therefore, banks should ensure that they tackle the problems and become more increasingly secured  in today's digital world.


Amar Singh is a global cyber security and privacy thought leader, who acts as a resident consultant on information security product development and market direction for several organisations based in the US and the UK. His client profile includes Siemens, the BBC, Reuters, BP, ATOS, Gala Coral, Cable & Wireless, SABMiller and many more. He is also a freelance senior analyst at Kuppinger Cole and serves as chairman of ISACA's UK security advisory group.


Neeti Aggarwal heads the financial technology research practice at The Asian Banker. With over 15 years experience in the research and publication industry, she specialises in banking research, technology developments across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. She regularly engages the financial services community on critical transformational issues, speaking and moderating at many of The Asian Banker's as well as partner's events. She earlier worked for five years at The Economic Times, India's largest selling financial daily.


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