As a global industry, financial services needs to do a better job of opening bank accounts for people, investors and businesses.
It is perhaps the starkest example of the unintended consequences of regulatory reform – certainly the most visible consequence to customers – that it is now so difficult to open the bank accounts which are the first step in international commerce for any growing business. What began as a challenge to money launderers is now posing a palpable threat to the world’s financial centres, and we can do it much better.
This century has seen a welcome international consensus to ensure the proceeds of crime cannot be rendered invisible simply by being transferred across borders. Banks are now the front line of defense against organized crime and it falls to all financial technology providers to support them in stamping out money laundering and criminal financing.
But this is to agree the end and not the means. It is one thing for policymakers to decree that something has to be done; it is quite another for businesses to carry out that decree. (more…)