Thomson Reuters Looks to Grow APAC Footprint for AML/KYC

Compliance talent is thin in the region, hence why firms are looking to vendors for help.

Sanjeev Chatrath, managing director for financial & risk, Asia Pacific at Thomson Reuters

According to Sanjeev Chatrath, managing director for financial & risk, Asia Pacific, at Thomson Reuters, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based financial institutions spend an average of $80 million and $38 million, respectively, on KYC and due diligence processes.

He tells WatersTechnology these costs are created from technology challenges, ongoing regulatory KYC obligations that vary from country to country, which also requires ongoing monitoring, availability of data, as well as the ultimate beneficial ownership.

Another factor affecting onboarding costs is the shortage of compliance talent.

"The demand for AML and KYC experts is high but the number of competent professionals in Asia is still low and organizations are in constant competition for the best talent. Four out of 10 financial institutions in Asia-Pacific reported that they lacked the necessary skilled resources to implement KYC-related changes effectively," he says.

This is helping to drive demand for firms like Thomson Reuters, he adds. "That said, regulators expect entities to embrace technology more effectively in order to drive automation. Leveraging smart systems and quality data is therefore an absolute integral part to cope with the requirements and ensure transparency and accountability," Chatrath says.

Tencent subsidiary Money Data recently chose Thomson Reuters to implement TR's World-Check Risk Intelligence web and software solutions to assist in Money Data's AML/KYC workflow. This is to help it comply with Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) requirements as part of being a stored value facilities (SVF) licensee. In August, Money Data was among five companies that were granted a SVF license by the HKMA.

World-Check is a structured database of politically-exposed persons and heightened risk individuals and organizations, globally. It helps identify threats as well as comply with legislation and regulations for preventing money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption, organized crime and third-party risk.

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