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Standards needed to aid money laundering fight

Banks, regulators and software suppliers should form an alliance to agree common standards for technology to detect money...

Banks, regulators and software suppliers should form an alliance to agree common standards for technology to detect money laundering, according to a submission to the Financial Services Authority.

The call, from fraud detection software supplier Mantas, was supported by Daniel Lessner, financial services technology analyst at Datamonitor. Common standards in anti-money laundering technology would help banks, he said.

Mantas has proposed agreed standards for both the functionality and scope of anti-money laundering technology, such as the ability to identify unusual patterns of customer behaviour. This would help banks achieve compliance and make it easier for regulators to enforce rules.

The firm issued the call in its response to a discussion paper about money laundering published by City regulator, the FSA.

Regulators have clamped down on financial services firms that are judged to have insufficiently robust procedures and systems to detect and report potential money laundering. In December 2003, the FSA fined high street bank Abbey a record £2m and, in 2002, the Royal Bank of Scotland was fined £750,000, both for failing to meet regulations to tackle money laundering.

Karen Van Ness, head of anti-money laundering management at Mantas, said, "Institutions should be able to choose whatever technology they want as long as it can meet [certain] criteria."

Mantas proposes that a steering committee co-ordinate the views of regulated firms, law enforcement agencies, consultants and suppliers to develop an industry standard.

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