As I am putting to bed what might be the most ambitious project we will tackle for a while at financialcrimeriskandcompliancetraining.com , a course designed for teenagers and young people up to 24 years of age on avoiding being a victim of financial crime, one big issue has been added at the last minute – the range of conduct that criminals are adopting as their response to the coronavirus / CoVid-19 epidemic / pandemic. Across the world, there are more and more examples of conduct, both in both the physical and cyber worlds.

While doing that, I’ve been doing the final checks on...


There's something odd happening around the coffee tables of the world. It appears to be a social change that was not widely foreseen or, if it was, was kept secret.


Romans blamed "The Ides of March" for the all kinds of things, mostly unpleasant. English myth talks about "mad March hares" which run around, aimlessly, in fields where they would normally hide.

But we can think of March as the month where we will see the first signs of spring (at least those of us above the equator can), half way from the longest night to the longest day and with shoots appearing and the first lambs of the season.

So, March is also a time of renewal - and perfect for fresh ideas, hence "The Ideas of March."


The world is mad. There is an overwhelming sense of a need to belong.


Apparently, LegalTech has become a thing.

I’m already bored with it.

Why?

That’s what someone asked me and I told them .

Here it is.


Good grief. This blog has always been a bit sporadic but now it looks downright dilatory.

So, you’d think that, except for one post last month I’d slept the winter away, wouldn’t you?

Nah.

There’s a story and this is the biggest milestone.

At least for now. There’s more to come.


It’s the everyday challenge for the financial crime risk officer.

There is something he’s not satisfied with but he can’t prove it – it’s his experience, what some call his “gut reaction” that says “this doesn’t stack up. We shouldn’t do this business.”

But there are reasons why the business should be done.

There is a fundamental imbalance and, incredibly, a fundamental irony.


Microsoft is pushing hard, and I use the term "pushing" deliberately. It has turned the world into addicts for the product only it sells and it makes withdrawal difficult and, even, frightening. MS is also providing purported advice while, well, pushing and using fear as its tool. Today, my PC (along with millions of others I assume) woke with a splash screen telling me Windows 7 will soon be orphaned. It invites "learn more." But all addictions can be beaten...


Grab (an online car booking service) has just added photo (aka facial) recognition to its app.

It just took me five minutes for it to take a photo it was happy with.

I'm not.


I had put a CD into a crappy player, through an ancient and slowly fading Sony amp and some cheap speakers. It didn't sound good but it sounded a bit better than previous times I'd played it.

The reason for the experiment was simple: it sounds absolutely awful on my good stuff. All my good stuff. It even sounds awful on my PC speakers. Why?


When I first started working in money laundering risk management in the early 1990s, reputational risk was something that greatly exercised my mind: surely customers would walk away from financial and professional service providers associated with laundering. That didn't happen.

Something else did.


I know. You read the headline, looked at the URL and thought "he's lost it. Again."

But I haven't. It's time that we stopped talking nonsense, stopped using lightweight buzz-wordy phrases and acronyms and got to grips with some basic truths.


It's more than four years since my son released his first album, "Stay." And now, with "Lost and Found," he's back. "Stay" was good. "Lost and Found" is much, much better.


The surprising news that Carlos Ghosn has been arrested on tax evasion charges in Japan and has already been turfed out of at least one of his senior positions in the Nissan-Mitsubishi-Renault triumvirate which he is widely regarded as having brought, in each case, back from the dead is worthy of comment, regardless of the eventual outcome of the investigation and charges.


The near-Messianic fascination with all things "blockchain" introduces a risk for financial crime risk officers. While the blockchain, as a part of a suite of technologies that work together can provide certain forms of security, there is a flip-side. The same security protocols can obscure information that FCROs would ordinarily expect to have as part of their routine KYC data.

What do FCROs/ MLROs / "AML" Risk Officers need to know?


The UK's Law Commission plans an Ethereum-like contracts execution platform. No problem so far. But then it wants to go further and make all contracts of certain types executable only via the platform.

So while you won't need to use the platform to buy a Mars Bar or to execute a will, you will need to use it for, amongst other things, a trust deed and a power of attorney, if the Law Commission succeeds.

It's a serious assault on personal privacy, no matter what "safeguards" might be proposed or introduced.

And it's bolstered by EU over-reach under the guise of...


Australia's ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) has been, rightly, stung by the brutal criticism it has suffered during the The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Using the bizarre expression "regulatory capture" which sounds like another one of those phrases designed to attract media attention to the words not their meaning, ASIC's Chairman, Mr James Shipton, told The Australian Broadcasting Corporation "We want to have our supervisory officers physically inside these financial institutions by the...


I'm preparing for a trip to Manilla 24 - 27 July 2018 and Taipei from 30 July - 4th August 2018 and if anyone would like to book me to present an in-house seminar or briefing session during those times, check out the list of topics and let me know ASAP.

And so it was, with airline tickets on my mind that I read a question on a bulletin board that took me by surprise. I'm constantly bemused by how what seems absolutely normal to me seems to be something new or intellectually challenging to others.


Late yesterday, I posted to LinkedIn a message about the way sound travels around the concrete canyons in Kuala Lumpur. I had tried to work out the location that a sound originated from but had fallen into helpless giggles when I realised that I could only calculate the position of the source if I had the location of the source. That, of course, was a circular argument and of no value to anyone.


Life's funny and the world is tiny. And there is no such thing as no such thing as coincidences.


This blog was originally published as ” OK. Call me a contrarian if you want but you are wrong.” with “The falsely accused contrarian and the bubble people.” as a subtitle. In February 2021, this was reversed when the blog was recorded for a BLOG/cast.

Listen to the BLOG/cast at www.financialcrimebroadcasting.com


You know the old joke - you know when you are travelling too much when you refer to cities by their airport codes?

Well, yes, that's exactly what I'm reduced to. Having just got home to Kuala Lumpur after KUL, CAN, HRB and return (delayed a day because the otherwise excellent China Southern cancelled one of my flights - they gave me a key-ring to make up for it), I'm now setting up the schedules for the final (so far as I know) legs of my seminar tour.

(this blog is the text of my e-mail newsletter to which you are welcome to sign up via the link on this page)


When the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) story first appeared, I instructed World Money Laundering Report that we should not become involved in what would inevitably become a frenzy of speculation and ill-informed comment as consultants (of which I am, obviously, one) and media outlets vied to benefit their own profile, and to get website visits, while the story was hot.

On 7th August 2017, I wrote what amounted to a placeholder article .


This blog is the text of my newsletter. You are welcome to sign up using the link on this page.

Hello,

It's been a long while since I did a personal newsletter to my 20,000 plus contacts. A lot's been happening that isn't work related and one of the things that got shoved aside has been this monthly note.

Let's get started...


Some people might argue that I'm a Luddite but nothing could be further from the truth. I have long been an early adopter of new technology.

What I am not is a follower of fashion. And after a few days with what may be the worst car Mercedes have ever made, I'm even more convinced we need to stop the constant revision of things just so someone can put a "new" sticker on it.