Trade-based money laundering a ‘massive global problem’ says senior banker

The head of transaction banking at Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, Wong Hooi Ching, has warned that trade-based money laundering is a massive global problem.

Wong says substantial illicit funds pass through banks and financial institutions daily, through trade activities, money mules, correspondent banking and more and that banks must be active, not reactive, in their role to stem illicit financial flows.

Proactive approach

The importance of the role of a bank cannot be understated, says Wong, who adds that it is no longer enough for financial institutions to plug the gaps in risk and that banks need to do more than just react.

She argues that banks can de-risk the inherently risky, but this requires a collaborative and cohesive effort within the financial services industry.

Education needed

“We need to de-risk through education, with a two-pronged approach of internal and external stakeholders,” she wrote in the New Straits Times.

“We need to be focusing on how we partner with clients who have the right intent, but not yet the right tools or experience to build robust controls for financial crime risks,” she added.

The banker also advocates education so that bank staff spot any lapse in judgement by their colleagues.

Regulatory framework

Wong also argues for what she describes as holistic regulatory frameworks within which both the public and private sectors have clearly defined roles under clearly defined rules.

Robust financial intelligence is also important says Wong, who emphasises that such intelligence must flow appropriately between the public and private sectors.

The full version of Wong Hooi Ching’s article can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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