Muscat: According to a survey findings, 44 per cent of respondents have fallen victim to financial crime in the past five years and about 87 per cent expect their technology to continue to develop over the next two years, while 70 per cent anticipate an increase in investment in compliance over the next two years.
This was revealed in the 5th Refinitiv Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Financial Crime Report at the opening session.
When asked about their experience of crime, responses for both money laundering, bribery and corruption were identical at around 12 per cent, yet the uptake of Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) programmes has been low over the five years of the survey.
Speaking about the report findings, Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Refinitiv, said: “Every year the report produces valuable insights, but this year’s edition is particularly thought-provoking as it features five key trends including the growing interest in technology, rise of personal liability as a regulatory risk, increased anti bribery and corruption regulation activity, emergence of ambitious new compliance programmes driven by regional governments, and the pursuit by small banks to upgrade their systems.”
“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. Mena-based organisations are just as exposed to the growing regulatory risk as their global counterparts, and yet responses to this year’s survey questions show that less than half of participants have an ABC programme in place,” he noted.
Najjar pointed out that many countries in Mena have ambitious plans to integrate their economy regionally and globally. “An analysis of survey responses per country indicates that Know Your Customer is the number one rated financial crime programme. Respondents from all countries had KYC in their top three programmes and eight of the 12 rated it as their top programme,” he added.
More than 40 panellists debated the global regulatory landscape and its influence on the Mena region, including financial crime risk, de-risking, financial inclusion and the digital revolution in financial services, such as cyber security, cryptocurrency and blockchain.