In 2023, professionals dealing with financial crime and AML compliance were busy handling geopolitical unrest, economic fluctuations, and evolving criminal tactics. In 2024, experts expect more regulatory changes, increased use of technology, and new methods to fight financial crime.
As the ever-present threat of money laundering, fraud, and financial crime continues to cast a dark shadow over entire financial systems, compliance and AML professionals continue to play a pivotal role in the war against financial crime.
We’ve collected data from interviews with over 130 compliance professionals across more than a dozen industries to get the lowdown on their predictions for the year ahead. With insights on everything from AI and automation, to cybersecurity risks and challenges; in this article, we take a look at the top three priorities for AML compliance in the UK in 2024.
With more than 40 national elections, a growing focus on terrorist financing, and ongoing tech advancements just some of the factors in play in 2024, these will come together to create a unique combination of challenges, opportunities, and changes for compliance teams across the country.
For this reason, it’s no wonder that half (50%) of our respondents stated that improving their AML processes was their main priority in 2024. In 2023, this didn’t feature in our respondents top three priorities, with compliance training topping the list, followed by data analytics, and cyber security last year.
Firms are now clearly taking a hard look at their internal compliance processes to uncover ways to improve and better their onboarding KYC, KYB and ID&V workflows in terms of both compliance and customer experience.
It comes as no surprise that company growth also features high on the priority list for 2024. Cited by 42%, after a challenging year of budget cuts, setbacks, and economic uncertainty, firms will be looking to kick-start 2024 with growth in mind.
The improvement of AML processes and contributing to company growth go hand in hand. Firms will need to ensure that their AML onboarding process is not only robust and compliant, but delivers a simple, friction-free experience for customers navigating through each stage. Whether confirming their identities or sharing evidence of source of funds; the entire process needs to be seamless, easy, and digital.
Professionals are also prioritising compliance training in 2024. 41% state that training is a key focus for the year ahead, and rightly so. Regular training for compliance teams and wider staff members is key to educating staff and keeping them up-to-date on the latest regulations, risks, policies, and procedures. Not only will this help employees recognise and report suspicious activities effectively, but raising awareness of compliance priorities and objectives will actively contribute to building a culture of compliance within the organisation.
When we look back at the priorities for compliance professionals in 2023, compliance training topped the list (cited by 42%), followed by data analytics (36%), and cyber security (33%).
On the other hand, 17% cited ESG initiatives and 10% cited eliminating data silos as the bottom priorities for 2024.
Given the amount of focus placed on ESG initiatives in compliance in 2023, one would hope that the lower rankings of this area of compliance is simply down to the fact that these initiatives are in hand and being effectively managed as part of wider corporate social responsibility efforts and strategies.
In 2024, firms may be choosing not to prioritise the elimination of data silos in compliance processes due to a lack of awareness regarding the long-term benefits. Factors such as resource constraints, budget cuts, and a heavy reliance on legacy systems could also be playing a key role.
Hopefully, silos in compliance will soon become a thing of the past. Without them, firms can reap the benefits of having a better understanding of customer risk, improved efficiency, easier compliance, and less overall burden.