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20 years fighting financial crime: Thank you

Phil Cotter
Phil Cotter
Managing Director, Risk business at Refinitiv

2020 marks 20 years of supporting our customers across the financial and corporate sectors around the world in the fight against financial crime. We count ourselves as a pioneer in the use of data and technology to help our customers meet critical regulatory challenges. Two decades ago, we created World-Check to assist our customers as they sought new ways to meet their regulatory obligations with respect to money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.


  1. It’s been 20 years since World-Check first started helping customers to meet their regulatory obligations with respect to financial crime.
  2. In recent years we have seen explosions in new financial crime typologies presenting significant new challenges for our customers, but how have we adapted to ensure we continue to meet their emerging needs?
  3. We strive to understand the unique challenges of each client and provide the right solution at the right time.

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In 2011, David Craig, then managing director of the governance risk and compliance business and now CEO of Refinitiv, correctly identified that, post-financial crisis, the meeting of regulatory obligations was going to be a significant challenge for banks.

He saw the potential for World-Check to play a leading role in helping customers to meet the challenge. The acquisition of World-Check created the foundation of what is Refinitiv’s risk business today.

Fast-forward to 2020 and nearly 10,000 customers globally now rely on our data, technology and human expertise to help them meet their risk and compliance needs. Moreover, many of our customers are now in sectors outside financial services, as the scope of regulations have grown requiring the need for greater due diligence on supplier and third-party relationships.

World-Check Risk Intelligence: Help protect your business from financial crime and reduce risk by fulfilling your KYC due diligence screening obligations with accurate and structured information

A 20-year journey fighting financial crime

Over the last 20 years, our customers have been challenged by criminals and organised crime groups who have become ever more sophisticated in their methods for laundering illicit funds through the global financial system.

In response, the complexity and scope of financial crime regulations has had to expand enormously to keep up.

In recent years we have also seen the emergence of new financial crime typologies including significant increases in human trafficking, wildlife trafficking and the rise of green crime.

All of these present significant new challenges for our customers.

We are committed to helping our customers respond to these emerging threats, and through increasing our investment in data and cutting-edge technology, as well as partnering with new stakeholders, we aim to deliver innovative solutions.

Our human expertise remains key

Human expertise has always played a critical role in the development of World-Check over the past two decades and will continue to do so into the future.

Our team of dedicated research analysts, many of whom have been with us on our 20-year journey, has grown significantly and their capabilities have expanded to conduct research in over 65 languages. And we have some of the most talented and innovative developers working in collaboration with our research teams, helping to drive product enhancements and bring forward new proof of concepts.

In 2014, we launched the now multi-award-winning screening platform World-Check One.

This was a big step, resulting from the powerful combination of the unrivaled World-Check risk intelligence from our research team with the next-generation automated screening software coming out of our technology team.

This was a game-changer for our clients because it simplified and accelerated their whole customer onboarding and due diligence process. It continues to make the monitoring of risk and remediation so much simpler and more intelligent.

World-Check One. 20 years fighting financial crime

In 2018, we launched World-Check One’s Media Check to meet the challenge of pinpointing the most relevant data from the increasing proliferation of risk data available. This unique screening and processing tool uses sophisticated AI technologies to cut to the data that matters the most to our customers.

Watch — World-Check One: Media Check Feature

In 2019, we formed a new strategic partnership with Dunn and Bradstreet to extend our content coverage. This resulted in the launch of our best-in-class tool, UBO Check, to verify the ultimate beneficial ownership or controllership of companies that our customers do business with.

Watch: Beneficial ownership screening with Refinitiv World-Check One

Partnering to build awareness of the financial crime problem

The global nature of financial crime means it is too big for any single government body or organisation to tackle it in isolation. It requires a coordinated and coherent approach from a range of different actors working within the anti-financial crime ecosystem.

Refinitiv has been at the forefront in the launch of Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime and is a founding member alongside Europol and the World Economic Forum.

The coalition seeks to promote more effective public and private sector collaboration, and engage policy makers with the aim of making anti-money laundering rules more effective.

Always listening

We have always valued the close relationship we have with our customers. We always strive to understand the unique challenges of each client and provide the right solution at the right time.

Also, to help us better understand the macro challenges confronting risk and compliance practitioners, we conduct regular surveys that canvas the opinions of tens of thousands of professionals around the world.

Publications such as The true cost of financial crime and The hidden risks in third party relationships provide valuable insight and information on the latest trends shaping the compliance function.

But let us hear from our customers themselves. During the year we reached out to a few of our thousands of customers to find out why they choose to partner with Refinitiv World-Check.

Watch: Hilda Gituro, Head of Risk & Compliance, Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Limited (DTB)

Watch: Jordan Michaelides, Head of Partnerships, CoinJar

On to the next 20 years!

The evolving threat landscape means technology and data will continue to have a crucial role to play in disrupting financial crime networks.

With the arrival of COVID-19, the threat landscape has changed significantly, increasing the risk of financial crime. Even prior to the pandemic the nature of financial crime was changing, with identity-related fraud being one of the most sophisticated and rapidly growing forms of fraud.

This increased threat landscape has put significant pressure on organizations to monitor their own systems and to ensure they are protecting their customers, and prospective customers. They must now seriously consider not only money-laundering related risks, but also those related to identity, cybercrime, and fraud risks.

The growing threat landscape also requires a concerted effort to bring big companies, regulators, politicians, and charities together in order to meet the challenge.

At Refinitiv, we want to say ‘thank you’ to all our customers and people for two decades of working together to meet the challenge of fighting financial crime.

Discover more Refinitiv World Check. 20 years fighting financial crime


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