Andrew Davies, VP, Global Market Strategy, Financial Crime and Risk Management at Fiserv, predicts that the tug of war between criminals and financial institutions will intensify in the coming year.

As we enter a new decade, the perpetual game of cat and mouse between criminals and financial institutions will continue, with each side unveiling new moves in an attempt to stay ahead of the other.

Once the purview of well-organised crime syndicates, money laundering has become mainstream. Today it represents between 2-5% of global GDP, or $800bn -$2trn, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Criminal exploits in this area have become more widespread while maintaining a high level of sophistication. And as the technology to detect and prevent money laundering, and the policies to prevent it, have become more advanced criminals are beginning to shift their sights to greener pastures.

There’ll be more criminal activity

In 2020, I expect to see more criminal activity directed toward areas such as trade finance, securities and insurance. Financial institutions will be meeting this activity head-on by casting the net of monitoring and investigations wider and sharing intelligence with law enforcement, peers and even competitors in the name of preventing financial crime, as well as ferreting out the often-associated activities of bribery, corruption and human trafficking.

In particular, the use of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and real-time transactional data analysis to uncover potential criminal activity will continue to grow substantially.

These technologies can consume more data from more sources, more quickly than human investigators, enabling faster analysis of a broader evidence base and, ultimately, more accurate detection as financial institutions build a better mousetrap.