Technology and collaboration needed to counter TBML says chief compliance officer

HSBC Singapore’s chief compliance officer is calling for continued vigilance, the use of technology, and participation in public-private partnerships to mitigate trade-based money laundering (TBML) risks.

In an article for Regulation Asia, Jamil Ahmed discusses these mitigating factors and concludes that financial institutions need to remain vigilant to these risks, explore the adoption of technological solutions to improve risk management and increasingly work with regulators in public-private partnerships to mitigate TBML risks.


The deployment of distributed ledger technology involving all trade participants holds significant promise to improve transparency, strengthen risk management and introduce processing efficiencies in the trade financing world according to Ahmed.

He says that whilst there may be underlying complexities in designing and integrating platforms to encompass multiple trade participants, the benefits of adopting blockchain technology with its inherent consensus and immutability properties will be high, provided the right control mechanisms are effectively deployed.

Furthermore, he argues that the digitisation of trade can ultimately give rise to better monitoring tools that utilise multiple data sources covering transportation, customer, transaction and goods/commodity reference price data to improve the detection of suspicious activity.

Collaboration and best practice

Ahmed – a member of various industry taskforces and initiatives across Singapore focusing on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing, sanctions and fraud –  saysmuch can be accomplished through continued focus, sharing of best practice and adapting standards.

He focuses on efforts in Singapore of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launching a series of thematic reviews across the banking industry, with a specific focus on processes and controls to mitigate TBML risks.

Upon the completion of these reviews, the chief compliance officer says a best practice guidance paper is expected to be published, against which banks will be able to assess their control environment.

Jamil Ahmed’s article, Trade-based Money Laundering: Avoiding Murky Waters, can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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