Hong Kong Financial Security Efforts Strengthened Under HKMA’s Reforms



by Fintech News Hong Kong

April 23, 2024

In her concluding address at the ACAMS conference in Hong Kong, Carmen Chu, the outgoing Executive Director (Enforcement and AML) at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) provided an overview of the advancements made over the past seven years, highlighting the collective progress in strengthening Hong Kong financial security efforts.

Carmen highlighted the significant advancements in enhancing the financial system’s robustness against crime, mainly through improvements in Analytics, Monitoring, and Link-up strategies. 

Through the introduction of advanced analytical tools and stronger regulatory frameworks, the HKMA has made substantial strides in Hong Kong financial security efforts, particularly in improving the robustness of systems against financial crimes.

Significant strides have been made, with these technologies’ coverage of retail bank customers increasing from 40 percent to 90 percent over five years.

Under her leadership, Hong Kong has seen a substantial upgrade in monitoring systems and AI utilisation, which has fine-tuned transaction monitoring and risk detection.

The recent implementation of a real-time fraud monitoring system across all retail banks is a significant advancement in the HKMA financial security efforts. This system has played a crucial role in protecting over US$2.3 million (HK$18 million) from fraudsters in the past year, underscoring its effectiveness in combating financial crime.

Carmen also spoke of the successful launch of the Anti-Deception Alliance and the Fraud and Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (FMLIT), initiatives that have strengthened collaboration between banks and law enforcement and led to significant confiscations of criminal proceeds.

On her last day, Carmen expressed optimism for the future, citing the introduction of new legislative proposals aimed at expanding information sharing among banks and the development of platforms like “FINEST” that facilitate proactive criminal investigations.

She stressed the importance of adapting to financial crime risk management challenges and encouraged the continued focus on outcome-driven approaches over compliance-oriented frameworks.

Carmen ChuHKMA financial security

Carmen Chu

“If there is one lesson the last seven years have taught me, it is that financial crime always evolves quicker than the system designed to combat it.  The pandemic period is a testament to how finely balanced the relationship is between opportunity and risk, with online activity fueling a surge in digital fraud which continues to test our systems to their limits.  Unless we can find a way to be more adaptive in our approach, innovating faster and at scale, we will not reach our destination,”

she said.

As she prepares to step down, Carmen emphasises the importance of maintaining regional and global consistency in these collaborative efforts to effectively combat financial crime.

She concluded her speech with a heartfelt maritime blessing, “Fair Winds and Following Seas,” wishing her colleagues success as they navigate the future challenges of financial crime prevention.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik

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