Thomson Reuters MENA Financial Crime Report Highlights Securing Key Skills as Priority For Increasingly Sophisticated Financial Crime Programmes



  • over 47% respondents highlight challenge in securing skilled resources to support increasingly complex technological financial crime and compliance programmes  
  • growing lack of confidence in financial crime programmes as nearly 25% of respondents doubt competency of their own staff members and half cite lack of senior management support  
  • volume of regulatory updates in 2008 rockets from 10 a day to almost 200 today: a twenty fold increase 

BAHRAIN, February 1, 2018 – Securing the right resources to support increasingly sophisticated compliance programmes is a key priority this year for businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to the 4th Thomson Reuters MENA Financial Crime and Compliance report in partnership with Deloitte Middle East.

With the last two reports indicating a need for investment in increasingly sophisticated technology, 48% of respondents to this year’s survey highlighted securing new resources and the necessary skills required for more mature environments as the main challenge they will face in managing their financial crime and compliance policy in 2018.

These subjects will be discussed on 5th February in Manama, Bahrain, when Thomson Reuters hosts the 12th Annual MENA Regulatory Summit, under the Patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain. Thomson Reuters will bring together global and regional leaders from leading financial institutions and regulators including Central Banks, the US Treasury, Wolfsberg Group, IMF and MENA FATF (Financial Action Task Force).

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Thomson Reuters said: “The report reveals that almost a quarter of respondents had little or no confidence that their financial crime prevention programmes were compliant with regulatory requirements. A lack of senior management support was cited as one of the main reasons, with 47% of respondents citing it as a factor. There may be an element of regulatory fatigue. When we first began tracking the volume of regulatory updates in 2008, they numbered 10 a day. Today the figure is closer to 200 a day – a twenty fold increase – and showing no signs of slowing down.”

Nipun Srivastava, Director, Financial Services Regulatory Advisory, Deloitte, Middle East, said: “As we see regulatory fatigue set in across the industry, compliance is realizing its role as a partner to the business instead of being a controller. The risk and compliance functions should develop comprehensive compliance strategies around their market, business needs and customer profile to improve the return on investment. Looking ahead, automation, AI and Big Data analytics provide an enormous opportunity to both the regulators and FIUs (Financial Intelligence Units) to reduce their cost of compliance and improve effectiveness of controls.”

The study underpins the importance of industry-led and public private sector initiatives that Thomson Reuters are actively engaged with including the MENA Financial Compliance Group (MENA) FCCG, Wolfsberg Group and the Future of Financial Information Sharing (FFIS) initiative in the global fight against financial crime.

Michael Matossian, Vice Chairman of the MENA Financial Crime and Compliance Group, said: “As its recent historic meeting with the Wolfsberg Group showed, the MENA FCCG is quickly gaining recognition globally for the work they are doing to make a collective impact on the fight against financial crime. The strategic partnership with Thomson Reuters in an integral part of this collective effort and one we hope to develop further in the years to come.”

David Shepherd, Market Development Lead, Risk, MENA, said: “The ongoing strategic partnerships that Thomson Reuters have developed in the MENA region, such as with the MENA Financial Crime and Compliance Group (MENA FCCG) and the Future of Financial Information Sharing (FFIS) initiative, continue to demonstrate our commitment to playing a key role in the vital partnership between the public and private sector. As the recent survey shows, there is a clear need to provide a cohesive approach to the ongoing fight against financial crime, both in MENA and globally.”

According to the report, there is a lack of co-ordination of a regulatory response between regulators. “We see a growing effort by regulators to provide controls for this issue, for example, regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and USA have launched supervisory initiatives to manage their banks’ cyber risks, but given the globalized nature of the internet, increased collaboration between regulators would help to reduce cyber risk.”

The full report will be available from Monday, 5 February 2018 here:

Notes to editors

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of news and information for professional markets. Our customers rely on us to deliver the intelligence, technology and expertise they need to find trusted answers. The business has operated in more than 100 countries for more than 100 years. For more information, visit


Tarek Fleihan

Corporate Communications

 Middle East, Africa & Russia / CIS – Thomson Reuters


[email protected] 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here