Hong Kong launches bank-to-bank information sharing platform

The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB), Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), and Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) have launched the Financial Intelligence Evaluation Sharing Tool (FINEST), a bank-to-bank information sharing platform.

The initiative aims to help increase banks’ ability to share information for detecting and disrupting fraud and mule account networks more effectively, thereby giving the public greater protection from fraud and financial crimes and enhancing the integrity of the banking system.

As the platform develops, banks can expect more exchanges of information related to trade-based money laundering (TBML) and other financial crimes.

Cyber-secured platform

The tool is a cyber-secured platform to speed up bank-to-bank sharing systems developed by the HKAB, with guidance from the HKMA, and support from the HKPF.

The developers say it will enhance the ability of banks to share information directly amongst themselves, which is internationally recognised as an effective means to help manage and mitigate increasingly sophisticated fraud and money laundering risks.

Pilot phase and roll-out

FINEST will be rolled out in phases. The pilot phase involves five domestic systemically important authorised institutions and focuses on sharing information related to corporates suspected to be involved in fraud-related money laundering activities.

Based on the experience gained from the pilot phase and any new issues that emerge, the platform will then be expanded by phases, to include more participating banks and cover personal accounts.

It will also be developed so that other financial crime-related information, including on TBML, can be shared.

Ongoing development

The HKMA says it will continue to work closely with banks and the HKPF to enhance the platform’s response to the evolving nature of fraud and financial crime.

“This collaborative platform demonstrates that banks, the HKMA and the HKPF share a common purpose to turn the tables on fraud and financial crime, with a view to offering better protection to the public,” says chief executive of the HKMA, Eddie Yue.

“Bank-to-bank information sharing, when combined with data analytics, can be a game changer in the fight against abuse of our banking system for fraud,” he concludes.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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