11 May 2021, Geneva, Switzerland - The past few years have seen an unprecedented growth in new technologies, products and related services which have revolutionized the global financial system. From mobile payments to pre-paid cards to digital banks, the financial sector has taken the customer experience to another level by providing personalized and user-friendly services. While these new technologies, products and related services have the potential to stimulate financial innovation and efficiency as well as to improve financial inclusion, they also present new risks for the financial system and regulators, for majority of these new technologies (as seen in the case of virtual assets and new payment solutions developed by non-financial firms) have developed rapidly outside the traditional regulatory barriers. 

The lack of proper understanding, knowledge and skills to identify, manage and mitigate financial crime risks associated with these new technologies have resulted into hefty fines for financial institutions in the past. Due to their poor firm-level risk management and compliance practices, financial institutions often end-up entangled in scandals, affecting their customer market and reputation. For instance, the Standard Chartered Bank has paid a fine of US$1.1 billion to the US regulators in 2019 for its breach of anti-money laundering and sanctions regime. Similarly, Danske Bank has paid billions in fine to regulators in Denmark, US and other European countries for facilitating money laundering. 

Understanding financial crime risks associated with digital financial services has thus become imperative for financial institutions to protect themselves from financial crime, as well as for policy makers and regulators to establish effective laws and regulations and to provide efficient guidance to the sector in combating financial crime. 

This UNITAR course on ‘Understanding Financial Crime Threats in Digital Financial Services’ aims to equip the participants with the requisite knowledge and skills to effectively detect, manage and mitigate financial crime risks associated with digital financial services, including risks associated with virtual assets. The course will enhance participants knowledge and understanding of how different types of financial crime can occur using digital financial services and virtual assets, whilst discussing numerous real life examples and case studies. The financial crime risks and challenges posed to digital financial services by the recent COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed and analyzed. Ultimately, the course will enable the participants to develop and implement an effective financial crime risk management strategy and programme to prevent the abuse of digital financial services by criminals, including a discussion on best practices and lesson learnt from various jurisdictions.

The course will be extremely useful and relevant to anyone who would like to enhance knowledge of financial crime risks in digital financial services, especially the staff of banking and other financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, financial intelligence units, fraud and compliance managers, risk management professionals, fintech firms, policy makers, regulators, consultants and senior practitioners.

In order to ensure the best possible outreach, the course will be delivered through e-learning. Through a multiple-instructional setting, the goal is to achieve the learning objectives by means of learning technologies that match personal learning styles and by the inclusion of non-linear learning that aims at the development of just-in-time skills of adult learners. At the same time, in order to allow participants maximum flexibility of scheduling, the learning will be conducted in an asynchronous manner. Using a state-of-the-art training architecture, UNITAR will combine self-learning with assessments and online discussions. The pedagogy - adapted specifically to professionals in full-time work - will help train participants through various experiences: absorb (read); do (activity); interact (socialize); reflect (relate to one’s own reality).

Understanding Financial Crime Threat in Digital Financial Services
Course starting date:  September 20 to October 22, 2021 (6 weeks, fully delivered online, Expert-moderated)
Course information and registration: https://www.unitar.org/event/full-catalog/understanding-financial-crime-threat-digital-financial-services

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