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March 13, 2019

Refinitiv MENA Financial Crime Survey Reports Increased Investment in Compliance Function and Growing Reliance on Regulatory Technology 

Survey reveals majority of respondents investing in technology, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

March 13, 2019 – Refinitiv today released the findings of its fifth MENA Financial Crime Report featuring new compliance and regulatory trends across the Middle East and North African markets. The findings featured five key themes including growing interest in technology, personal liability as a regulatory risk, increased anti bribery and corruption regulation activity, emergence of ambitious new compliance programs driven by regional governments, and the pursuit of small banks to upgrade their systems.

The full report will be launched at the upcoming 13th Refinitiv MENA Regulatory Summit set to take place on March 18 in Dubai under the theme “Fighting Financial Crime in MENA”. The summit will also cover challenges of information sharing, sanctions, use of emerging technologies, FATF evaluations in MENA, and the possible impact on compliance policy updates in the fight against financial crime. 

According to the survey findings, Know Your Customer is the number one rated financial crime program. Respondents from all countries had KYC in their top three programs and eight of the 12 rated it as their top program, as well as five of the six GCC countries.

About 58% of respondents indicated some kind of investment in new technology, while 30% indicated they use cloud computing, and 24% embraced artificial intelligence. Furthermore, the findings report a flattening of investment into skills and training, which may indicate a swing away from human resources to technology, at least in the short term. In terms of key concerns, respondents were more concerned about reputation degradation (39%) than the risk of enforcement activity (20%) or indeed the risk of personal liability (12%).

Phil Cotter, Managing Director, Risk, Refinitiv, said: “The fifth edition of the MENA Financial Crime Report provides a closer look at the changing attitudes and responses to regulatory risk across the region. Our analysis reveals increased investment in the compliance function and a growing reliance on regulatory technology as organisations look to step-up their analytical capabilities and respond to the broader financial crime challenge.”

“The global nature of financial crime means we need collective action and more innovative approaches if we are to combat it effectively and we are seeing increased appetite for public-private collaboration. Refinitiv is committed to advancing this approach and created a coalition with Europol and the World Economic Forum to Fight Financial Crime. We have also been a strategic partner of the MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group, an initiative of regional banks, since its launch in September 2016,” added Cotter.

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Refinitiv, said: “Compliance costs are under pressure due to the acceleration of MENA regulatory change and the cost of constantly upskilling. New financial technology and process innovation could make the entire MENA financial framework more robust and impenetrable. However, it is important to note that hard skills in technology are not the only requirements for a successful compliance function across these markets. Training that contributes to an appropriate compliance culture will be as critical.”

The report is based on an annual survey conducted by Refinitiv to track changing norms, standards and attitudes around compliance and the management of financial crime, thus allowing compliance practitioners and senior executives the ability to benchmark their programs.

About Refinitiv

Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries. It provides leading data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms that connect a thriving global financial markets community - driving performance in trading, investment, wealth management, regulatory compliance, market data management, enterprise risk and fighting financial crime. For more information, visit: www.refinitiv.com

About Refinitiv

Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries. It provides leading data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms that connect a thriving global financial markets community - driving performance in trading, investment, wealth management, regulatory compliance, market data management, enterprise risk and fighting financial crime. For more information, visit: www.refinitiv.com

About Refinitiv

Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries. It provides leading data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms that connect a thriving global financial markets community - driving performance in trading, investment, wealth management, regulatory compliance, market data management, enterprise risk and fighting financial crime. For more information, visit: www.refinitiv.com

Contacts

Tarek Fleihan
Corporate Communications
Refinitiv
+97144536527
tarek.fleihan@refinitiv.com