The trouble with being first is someone with bigger backing is likely to steal your thunder.


It’s been going on for weeks, the deluge of spam about personal protective equipment of one sort of another. But this one is special.


A recent spate of cases in the USA has, after the best part of a decade, concluded that crypto-assets are to be regarded as property.

Seriously: this is one of the simplest things to work out and courts – and legislatures – have been making a meal out of something that is blindingly obvious.

Yet, bizarrely, it’s not only US courts that are finding this difficult.


As lockdowns continue – and are eased – there is an obvious but forgotten crisis that has already begun but is going to get far, far, worse.

And this time it’s a human not an economic or medical crisis.


We’ve added around 1,000 subscribers since the last newsletter so, to you, thank you and to those who’ve been on the list for, in some cases, getting on for 20 years, thanks for your patience over the past few months while other things have taken priority.


In one of the worst kept secrets of recent times, the case of Rihan v EY Global and others has reached its first major milestone – a formal hearing before the English High Court. It’s all about money laundering, skulduggery and all that sexy stuff.

But that’s just froth.

The real meat of the Order comes in the far less seductive part of the case – the choice of venue and corporate responsibility for downstream malfeasance.


What more can I say than here is proof : artificial intelligence is not ready for prime time in the financial sector.


There are many things that make me shake my head and wonder how come the world is full of “experts” on things that are common sense.

Is there no common sense any longer? Are we moribund unless someone tells us what to do and, even, how to do it.

And does that stasis even extend to thinking?

Apparently, we now need to be taught about “critical thinking.”


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...