What is financial crime and what do financial crime risk professionals do?

Financial crime is defined as any kind of criminal conduct relating to money or to financial services or markets and typically includes: bribery and corruption, fraud, tax evasion, cyber, identity theft, money laundering, terrorist financing and insider trading.

Financial crime risk professionals provide expert advice and proactive support relating to financial crime risk, control and compliance. They work to ensure sound and responsible business practices and high ethical standards within the institution, as well as the integrity of the products and services delivered to customers.

They are responsible for implementing a range of risk management processes and procedures to ensure that financial crime risks are understood, mitigated and controlled. At a more senior level, these professionals will work closely with business unit executives to assist in implementing any changes to the organisation’s activities in order to comply with financial crime prevention requirements.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Ensuring that financial crime risks are identified, assessed, managed and reported in a timely manner.
  • Assisting with developing, enhancing and communicating the company’s standards and frameworks for mitigating financial crime risks.
  • Coordinating and reviewing end-to-end financial crime risk assessments.
  • Conducting investigations including potential financial crime cases, as required by the business.
  • Making decisions/recommendations on appropriate actions in relation to financial crime issues.
  • Providing advice, guidance and updates on the application of financial crime policy and best practice.
  • Responding promptly to any business, regulatory, third party or escalated law enforcement requests relating to financial crime in an accurate, informative and timely manner.
  • Developing and maintaining relevant management information on financial crime and related risks.
  • Identifying areas for improvement to reduce the risk of financial crime and recommending changes to procedures and standards where appropriate.

Why are they important?

Financial crime risk professionals provide expertise to the financial services sector to address the proliferation of financial crime and tightening regulation to which financial institutions are exposed. Recent, well-publicised breaches have had a considerable impact on the reputation of the organisations affected and resulted in heavy commercial and legal penalties. Financial crime remains a key focus area at board level and investment in effective and robust financial crime risk management is increasing.

Skills needed for this role

Financial crime risk professionals have highly developed analytical and interpretative skills, along with excellent communication and presentation skills. The ability to build strong relationships and influence at a senior level is also key, as is effective stakeholder management.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

The increasing exposure of organisations to financial crime is resulting in increased emphasis on its risk management and a multitude of career options in this field. Roles are prevalent in financial institutions and can range from analyst up to director level.


High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.


  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

  • Governance, risk and control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.