The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) has released its new bank-to-bank information sharing platform, Financial Intelligence Evaluation Sharing Tool (FINEST), with support from The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF).
FINEST enables banks to better share information for the purposes of detecting and preventing fraud mule account networks, enhancing the protection systems in place against financial crimes and boosting Hong Kong’s banking system.
The HKMA and HKPF assisted the HKAB in establishing a cyber-secure platform to accelerate the bank-to-bank sharing process and efficiency. The tool forms part of the HKMA’s key work priorities in the banking sector for 2023 to “to detect, deter and disrupt money laundering, fraud and financial crime”, and is also one of the five joint anti-deception initiatives introduced by the HKMA and the HKPF.
“This collaborative platform demonstrates that banks, the HKMA and the HKPF share a common purpose to turn the tables on fraud and financial crime, with a view to offering better protection to the public,” Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said.
“Bank-to-bank information sharing, when combined with data analytics, can be a game changer in the fight against abuse of our banking system for fraud.”
In a statement, the HKMA recognised how information-sharing across banks is an effective method used internationally to “help manage and mitigate increasingly sophisticated fraud and money laundering risks”.
“FINEST will be rolled out in phases. The pilot phase involves five domestic systemically important Authorized Institutions (D-SIBs) and focuses on sharing of information related to corporates suspected to be involved in fraud-related money laundering activities,” the statement also said.
“Based on the experience gained from the pilot phase and any new issues addressed, the platform will be expanded by phases in future, to include more participating banks and cover personal accounts as well as share other financial crime-related information such as trade-based money laundering.”