Following the Money & Connections A deep dive into how businesses can mitigate the risk of money laundering more effectively - Handshakes

Following the Money & Connections
A deep dive into how businesses can mitigate the risk of money laundering more effectively


Charles Poon’s Money FM 89.3 Interview Highlights – 16 January 2024 

In case you missed the MONEY FM 89.3 Morning Shot radio interview with Handshakes Co-Founder and Chief Products Officer Charles Poon, here’s a breakdown of the discussion with radio hosts Emaad Akhtar and Audrey Siek as they talked about the business risks associated with money laundering activities.


Identifying Red Flags in Business  

Having an extensive experience in due diligence and regulations, Charles, shared his insights into recognising potential money laundering activities. He emphasised that red flags can emerge at any point in the customer relationship life cycle. Beginning with onboarding, Charles stressed the crucial need to establish and verify the identity of customers, highlighting incongruent information as a key indicator.  

He delved into the risks associated with sanctioned entities and emphasised the importance of screening services where he recommended examining the broader network of relationships to uncover hidden risks whilst ensuring transparency of the end-to-end controllers. Even after initial onboarding, regular monitoring should be done to ensure those who has been onboarded continues to be the same one doing business after. 


Establishing Trust Beyond the Money Trail 

Challenging the conventional “follow the money” approach, Charles mentioned the significance of establishing credibility, identity, and trust within a network. Rather than solely tracking monetary movements, he reiterated on having a broader view that ensures the legitimacy of entities in the network. This proactive approach provides an extra layer of comfort and confidence, allowing for ongoing assurance in dealing with external entities. The value of maintaining this process over time, elevates the level of confidence beyond the traditional money-centric investigative methods.


Importance of Safeguarding Business Reputation in the Digital Era  

The crucial role of establishing identity and visibility in mitigating risks for businesses is having a risk-based approach. Charles mentioned the importance of making informed decisions to avoid losses. He dived into the far-reaching consequences of being implicated in money laundering incidents, including reputational damage, regulatory challenges, and potential license revocation.

All in all, comprehensive information empowers businesses to navigate these risks effectively, safeguarding their reputation, licenses, and professional careers.

Charles also addressed the challenges posed by the increasing digitisation and globalisation of business. He focused on the need for continuous vigilance, moving beyond traditional spot checks to embrace perpetual monitoring and KYC (Know Your Customer) practices.

In a world where transactions occur around the clock across different time zones, Charles commented on leveraging technology to scale assurance principles. The evolving landscape, according to Charles, calls for a shift towards perpetual KYC, ensuring companies stay resilient and proactive against the complexities of modern money laundering activities. 


Handshakes’ Analytical Tool for Uncovering Complex Business Networks 

Handshakes’ product offerings extend beyond regular monitoring. It supports all the different parts of due diligence process. Charles highlighted the difficulty of understanding hidden relationships behind an individual or entity, especially in scenarios like loan applications.

With Handshakes’ solutions, it is possible to track intricate social network connections around companies and individuals, visualising them in an intuitive interface. The visual mapping tool allows users to comprehend the depth of relationships, providing a visual representation of spheres of influence and hidden dynamics. The solutions aim to instil confidence in doing business safely by uncovering the unknown aspects of connections in the market.

Charles also shed light on the intricate challenges faced in money laundering cases, emphasising the vast and tangled web of social networks. Handshakes’ solutions add value by alleviating 90% of the effort traditionally invested in data preparation, allowing clients to focus on analytical work. This is because the most prominent hurdle lies in piecing together data from diverse sources, each with its own inconsistencies and reporting timelines.

The focus is on simplifying the piecing together of data from diverse sources with their visual mapping tool.


Leveraging AI for Efficient and Insightful Data Analysis 

AI plays a crucial role in processing, organising data, extracting relevant information, and performing advanced risk analysis. It accelerates the extraction of high-quality insights, a critical factor in meeting the evolving needs of clients with shortened timeframes and coping with the growing volume of accessible data. Nevertheless, despite the pivotal role of AI in enhancing the capabilities of their services, Handshakes focuses on delivering end results rather than positioning itself as solely an AI company. 

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