2017 was a big year for the role of public/private information-sharing in the fight against financial crime. Between March and May 2017, three major public/private partnerships to support information-sharing were established - in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong - adding to similar efforts in the UK, the US, the Netherlands and Canada.
As a collaborative project within the RUSI Centre for the Financial Crime and Security Studies, this Future of Financial Intelligence Sharing (FFIS) programme started 12 months ago to provide a focus point for independent research into the role of these public-private financial information-sharing partnerships (what we term 'FISPs') to detect, prevent and disrupt crime.
Between February to October 2017, the FFIS programme examined the role of these partnerships in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. We conducted high-level interviews and hosted workshops and discussion events in London, Brussels, Singapore, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Washington D.C., engaging with approximately 300 senior individuals from public authorities, the private sector, civil society and the research community. Over 40 expert and senior individuals engaged in the formal peer-review process for the research, including all the relevant lead public agencies.
We published our final report ‘The role of financial information-sharing partnerships in the disruption of crime’ at SIBOS in Toronto on 17 October 2017 as the first international, independent and comparative study of public/private information-sharing partnerships. Our findings received Wall Street Journal coverage and were presented in a number of fora, including to governments of the FATF in their Buenos Aires Plenary Meeting and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Information Exchange Working Group.
For those that weren’t able to participate, please download the research summary slides below or watch the full research presentation or short summary infographic video.
The policy landscape in this area continues to evolve at pace. FATF updated their consolidated summary of FATF Standards on Information Sharing and published new FATF Guidance on Private Sector Information Sharing in November 2017. A number of FISPs are in pilot stages, prior to formal evaluation or stable performance metrics. Almost all countries with a FISP are still innovating in terms of the appropriate structure and depth of information-sharing. In 2018, we expect a number of new FISPs to be established in FATF countries.
As a research programme, we will continue to work with a wide range of governments, financial intelligence units, law enforcement agencies and private sector reporting agencies to provide research support and international-best practice sharing. As our first major study identified, there are many outstanding challenges for FISPs to consider across a range of leadership, legislative, governance, technology and evolution issues.
In 2018, we will be encouraging discussion beyond effectiveness indicators, which have rightly drawn a lot of interest, to advance dialogue on proportionality, privacy, supervision issues as well.
We invite a wide range of stakeholders to engage in our work.
Our research programme in 2018 will centre on the following key themes:
1. Supporting policy thinking around the establishment of new partnerships – This theme will apply the research findings from 2017 to support the next generation of FISPs. The programme will bring international experience and research expertise to contribute to developmental discussions about new public/private information-sharing partnerships. In 2018, within this theme, we intend to host operational and legislative development workshops in Brussels, Canada, Argentina, the UAE, France and Malaysia. We are grateful for our close research relationship with Europol and Interpol in connection with this work.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to our work in 2018, particularly HSBC, Thomson Reuters and EY for their financial and logistical support, as well as subject matter experience. In addition, we are delighted that Western Union will be joining as a strategic partner of the FFIS programme in 2018.
We are very grateful for the support of the FFIS research advisory committee, who contribute in a personal capacity to guide the research process.