It’s a sobering thought that if laundered funds were GDP, then money laundering would represent the third largest country in the world. Perhaps even more sobering that only 1% of these funds are ever actually recovered.
Effective, efficient and secure information sharing is critical in the fight against this activity and it was the topic of a virtual roundtable discussion that I chaired with Karen Baxter, Managing Director Intelligence Strategy at UK Finance, James Dipple-Johnstone, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Regulatory Officer at the ICO and John Cusack, Chair of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime.
Converging these three perspectives delivered a reassuring sense of striving towards a common goal – the pursuit of greater effectiveness and efficiency and protection of all nations and their many individual communities from harm.
Our discussion also highlighted significant levels of asymmetry, though, between public and private sector, across multiple jurisdictions and at a technological level.
As economic crime and the digital exchange of information industrialises globally, it seems clear that from a law enforcement perspective and in the private sector, information sharing frameworks require a significant overhaul if our operating environment is to keep pace with ever more sophisticated criminal activity.
Misconceptions, education and public contributions
Myths may have built up over time regarding existing frameworks and what can (or more pertinently, cannot) be achieved within them, perhaps diluting the notion of “the art of the possible” through continued dialogue and collaboration amongst key stakeholder groups.
As John Cusack stated during our discussion, information sharing in and of itself is not a silver bullet. It must be for a purpose, collected for a specific reason that will be productive with the appropriate controls and safeguards around it.
Here, education and conversation remain key and it’s encouraging to hear from James Dipple-Johnstone how the ICO has an open-door policy when it comes to innovating and iterating towards the solutions to many sector-specific and international challenges.
We would all regrettably admit that we may be quite some distance from the levels of intelligence-led prevention that would land a needle-shifting strike against the current levels of criminality.
However, my guests all clearly conveyed a unilateral desire to continue the fight for the progress that will not only reduce losses and increase corporate profits and broader community benefits, but also shift the narrative to a position that brings much greater levels of confidence, trust and understanding to the public, whereby they too can play a powerful part of the long-term solution.
You can listen to the full discussion below or watch the full video recording here.