Skip to main content

Resetting the dial on information sharing

Economic crime does not operate in silos. Rather, it exploits an ecosystem of inter-connected financial frameworks, affecting organisations and individuals on a global scale.

Economic crime has risen sharply up the political agenda in recent years, reaching epidemic levels and costing the UK economy an estimated £190bn per year.1

Fraud alone, which is just one segment of economic crime, contributes to 40% of all crime in the UK, yet only 1% of policing capacity is dedicated to fighting it.2

Tackling economic crime is an ongoing challenge as organised crime groups operate with a speed and sophistication that is difficult to counter. Limited public resources are making it harder to prosecute criminals. Even the most harmful cases take years to investigate and bring to trial due to their complexity.

Within the UK we must change how we work to tackle this threat. Both public and private sectors must collaborate and demonstrate bold leadership to drive the required paradigm shift.3 We must refine laws, policies and rethink, for example, how information is shared between private and public sectors to prevent crime at scale, expedite investigations and enable outcomes against criminals.

For example, in 2018, His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) alerted the public to an increase in fraudsters operating tax rebate scams. HMRC worked with telecoms companies to block the telephone numbers being used, seeing a 97% fall in reports of tax rebate scams in the 12 months to December 2021.4 This clearly demonstrates the way in which cross-sector collaboration on specific use cases can have immediate results.

New approaches to private and public information sharing should be tested through pilots that can quickly create robust evidence for policy change. Piloting new approaches is how the UK government has introduced the changes to information sharing between businesses in the regulated sector within the recent Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. These changes aim to enhance the ability to share information for the purposes of detecting, investigating and even preventing economic crime.5

Examples of how other jurisdictions are taking action include:

  • In the Netherlands, Transactie Monitoring Nederland (TMNL) is piloting a transaction monitoring utility. Five major Dutch banks are combining forces to jointly monitor customer transactions and money flows for suspicious activity. Using advanced analytical techniques and overlay typologies from the National Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) the TMNL can better understand high priority money laundering threats which can drive prevent and pursue activity.
  • In Singapore, the Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing Information & Cases (COSMIC) model is a planned information-sharing utility involving six banks and led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It prioritises three risk areas: misuse of shell and front companies, trade-based money laundering, and sanctions evasion which could transform the jurisdiction’s response to these key threats.

The UK must ensure it keeps pace with other jurisdictions, building on robust foundations including the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU), Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) and Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) to create a world-leading response to economic crime with collaboration, enhanced intelligence and data sharing at its heart.

It is time to be transformational, ambitious, and courageous.



1 RUSI -

2 ‘Policing in a modern world‘ – Commissioner McLaren – London Fraud Forum