Global financial crime compliance costs for financial institutions totals more than $206 billion, according to a study released by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions on Wednesday.

The firm said in a statement that the cost is comparable to more than 12 percent of global research and development (R&D) expenditure and equates to $3.33 per month for each working-age individual on earth.

The annual True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Report examines how financial institutions navigate the expenses and challenges tied to evolving financial crime compliance requirements.

The findings reflect the perspectives of 1,181 professionals in financial crime compliance from a diverse range of small, medium and large companies across the United States/Canada, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America (LATAM).

Key findings from the LexisNexis Risk Solutions True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Report – 2023 include:

Artificial intelligence (AI) leaves its mark

While certain industries are still determining the ways in which AI and machine learning (ML) will bring about an influence, 71 percent of professionals in financial crime compliance indicate that their organizations are already enhancing data utilization through advanced analytics.

Additionally, 72 percent confirm that they employ analytics and AI to enhance their compliance procedures.

However, similar to historic changes in ways of working, problems with data quality, data silos, outdated legacy systems and a lack of collaboration internally can create avoidable compliance activity and expenditure.

EMEA remains a high-cost center for financial crime compliance

The study reveals that EMEA financial institutions and their customers continue to incur a more substantial expense for financial crime compliance compared to other regions.

The overall cost of financial crime compliance in EMEA surpasses that of the United States/Canada by 39.8 percent.

This difference is partly indicative of the escalating intricacy of compliance requirements.

Globally, 78 percent of organizations and specifically 80 percent in EMEA indicate that the intricate network of regulations and sanctions acts as a constraint on their business operations.

In contrast, APAC and LATAM are comparatively more cost-effective regions, despite significant compliance expenditure.

The financial compliance expenses in APAC amount to 74.5 percent of those in the United States/Canada, while LATAM’s costs are 24.7 percent in comparison.

Change to address future challenges

Chief Executive Officers, vice presidents and directors in financial institutions globally are not complacent.

Many new initiatives add to the ongoing complexity they face in meeting financial crime compliance requirements.

However, 85 percent of financial institutions place enhancing customer experience at the top of their priority list.

This reaffirms a commitment towards fostering trust and delivering satisfaction, even in the face of proliferating financial threats.

A substantial emphasis of these efforts revolves around optimizing the efficiency and efficacy of financial crime compliance concerning payments.

Globally, 74 percent of institutions emphasize that this is a critical or high-priority endeavor.

“The financial impact of crime resonates through businesses’ financial statements and consumers’ wallets,

“In the pursuit of the common good, legislators and regulators collaborate tirelessly with financial institutions to establish necessary mandates. However, these endeavors aren’t without costs,” said Grayson Clarke, senior vice-president, LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

According to him, the report underscores that financial institutions are making significant investments to stay compliant with financial crime regulations.

“Effective collaboration within these institutions is pivotal for enhancing the customer experience while managing these costs,

“Leveraging emerging technologies alongside existing solutions can empower institutions to achieve their objectives and deliver optimal customer outcomes,” he said.

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