April 09,2020

MENA FCCG Contributes to Global Finance Article “Financial-Crime Worries Rise”

“The past decade witnessed increased regulatory expectations for banks to monitor against a wider set of financial crimes, coupled with intensified enforcement and reputation loss for violations,” says Michael Matossian, executive vice president and chief compliance officer at Jordan’s Arab Bank.

“Technological advancements can also present new challenges and risks that need to be effectively mitigated,” says Matossian. “For example, the convergence of cyber and financial crimes worldwide has become a major challenge. Banks need to maintain the appropriate balance between embracing innovation and effectively protecting against financial crime.”

Protecting the Whistleblowers

“While gaining increased regulatory attention, the complex legal systems and varying cultures that define each Arab country, our region—like many others—have yet to show promising actions that encourage employees to come forward and raise a red flag,” stated the MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group (MENA FCCG), a regional body formed in 2016 by 13 banks from nine countries as a collaborative approach to combat financial crime.

To some close observers, this suggests the need for a more collaborative approach across borders. “It is important to speak as a region, to show that it is not an accumulation of individual concerns but that all the banks are aware of the importance of pushing for better practices and better compliance,” says the UAB’s Awdeh, who is also a founding member of MENA FCCG.

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