Sigma Ratings welcomes FinCEN’s push to improve money laundering practices

In response to the FinCEN Files revealing that more must be done to fight money laundering, regulators around the world has snapped into action, which is welcomed by Sigma Ratings.

The FinCEN Files is a huge deal. The series of articles was published in September by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and BuzzFeed. The story, which detailed 2,100 secret reports filed by banks to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s agency the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), revealed that only a fraction of suspicious transactions are acted upon by regulators.

In other words, despite banks paying lip service to the fight against financial crime, money laundering often goes unnoticed.

Following the reports, FinCEN solicited comments as part of its Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) on AML Program Effectiveness.

“The proposals under consideration are intended to provide financial institutions greater flexibility in the allocation of resources and greater alignment of priorities across industry and government, resulting in the enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of anti-money laundering (AML) programmes,” FinCEN wrote at the time.

Sigma Ratings has submitted its comments in response to ANPRM, agreeing with the push to reinvent the dirty money-fighting regime. The RegTech company particularly welcomed changes in two key areas where its domain knowledge is most applicable.

The first was to leverage new technologies to enhance risk management techniques. The second was to do away with discarding inefficient and unnecessary practices.

“An increasingly technology-enabled approach is something that Sigma has advocated for during the past several years in public hearings and in private briefings with officials in both the legislative and executive branches,” Hamad Alhelal, director of financial crime intelligence at Sigma Ratings, wrote in a blog.

“Moreover, Sigma believes this approach will benefit significantly from a regularly published list of AML priorities to ensure that both budgets and expectations are aligned for regulated entities, as well as the technology providers building the next generation of AML tools necessary to contribute to the fight.”

Alhelal added that Sigma Ratings welcomes the steps taken by regulators around the world in response to the FinCEN Files.

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