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HFS Research, in Collaboration with AML RightSource, Releases Study Revealing the People and Tech Imperative Driving a New Era of Automation in FinCrime Compliance

HFS and AML RightSource
  • Just 18% of fincrime compliance leaders are using AI and automation but anticipate a 70%+ adoption over next two years to scale amid more sophisticated criminals and growing regulatory requirements.
  • The top three fincrime compliance investment priorities are partnering with peer institutions to drive fincrime compliance impact, systems modernization, and setting up fincrime compliance for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.
  • Areas having the biggest impact on fighting financial crime are growth in digital volumes of transactions, use of emerging tech by criminals, growth of regulatory requirements, and delivery models supporting fintechs like banking-as-a-service (BaaS).
  • Talent—getting it and keeping it—ranked #1 challenge for fincrime compliance programs.


New York – February 6, 2024 – While financial services firms have been some of the earliest and most extensive adopters of cutting-edge technologies, a scarcity of skilled talent, organizational silos, and lack of C-suite support remain significant barriers to AI and automation in financial crime (fincrime) programs. According to a new study, Driving the Evolution of Financial Crime Compliance: The People and Tech Imperative, released by HFS Research in partnership with AML RightSource, only 18% of fincrime compliance leaders are using AI and automation today. With planned adoption expected to increase by more than 70% in the next two years, fincrime compliance leaders now face a new people and tech imperative.


“Amidst expanding regulatory requirements, compliance functions are under tremendous pressure to adapt to the risks of today's ever more interconnected and digitized landscape at speed and scale,” said Frank Ewing, Chief Executive Officer at AML RightSource. “Financial services firms are showing a greater willingness than ever before to invest in regulatory risk and compliance programs.”

Other insights from the study include:

  • Talent, organizational silos, and lack of C-suite support are the biggest internal challenges for fincrime compliance programs amid burgeoning innovation, smarter criminals, and rapidly changing financial transaction models.
  • Compliance leaders expect their budgets to increase by 9.5% in 2024.
  • Many regulatory compliance leaders (41%) believe the easiest path to AI and automation adoption is through their existing platforms and systems. Using service providers and building in-house are viable alternatives.
  • While the most typical model of working with third-party service providers today is on a project basis, in two years, this will shift to tech-enabled managed services.
  • There is broad consistency around what regulatory compliance leaders want to outsource and what they want to apply AI and automation to. This alignment is at the heart of tech-enabled managed services—the perfect match of humans augmented by tech.
  • Over half of respondents support cannabis-related businesses today (56%) and banking-as-a-service (supporting fintechs or other non-bank entities with banking services) (60%). Both business lines are driving a nearly 7% expected increase in fincrime compliance headcount in 2024.
  • Tech-enabled fincrime compliance workloads will grow 31% over the next two years compared to more modest growth in human-led work.

“The imperative for advancing tech enablement is a focus on AI and automation to help augment fincrime resources. It’s about leveraging emerging technologies to help make humans better at fighting financial crime, scaling the focus on judgment and specialized skills over rote documentation and manual tasks,” added Brad Breslin, Chief Delivery Officer of AML RightSource.


According to the study's author, Elena Christopher, Chief Research Officer at HFS“There aren’t enough fincrime professionals to meet new requirements, let alone manage remediation or enforcement. These resources need to be amplified and augmented by AI and automation to help increase time spent on judgment-based requirements and strategic decisions, and minimize time spent on routine repetition and documentation.” 

 HFS Research CEO and Chief Analyst Phil Fersht, agrees, "Fincrime leaders need to be willing to change, consider partnering with third-party providers, and cultivate innovation with industry peers to effectively manage risk and compliance.” 

The survey-based study of 500 fincrime compliance professionals across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia-Pacific creates a definitive baseline and clear vision of wants and needs of financial services fincrime leaders for automation, AI, and outsourcing.


About AML RightSource, LLC  

AML RightSource is the leading technology-enabled managed services firm focused on fighting financial crime for our clients and the world. AML RightSource provides custom solutions to financial institutions, FinTechs, money service businesses, and corporations. Using a blend of highly trained anti-financial crime professionals, cutting-edge technology tools, and industry-leading consultants, AML RightSource assists clients with their AML/BSA, transaction monitoring, client onboarding (KYC), enhanced due diligence (EDD), and risk management needs. We support clients in meeting day-to-day compliance tasks, urgent projects, and strategic changes. Our global staff of more than 4,000 highly trained analysts and subject matter experts is the industry’s largest group of full-time compliance professionals. AML RightSource is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. With our clients around the world, we are Reimagining Compliance. For more information, visit www.amlrightsource.com.

About HFS Research

HFS is a leading global research and analysis firm trusted at the highest levels of executive leadership. Our mission is to help our clients tackle challenges, make bold moves, and bring big ideas to life by arming them with accurate, visionary, and thought-provoking insight into issues that impact their business. HFS analysts and strategists have deep, real-world experience in the subjects they cover. They’re respected for independent, no-nonsense perspectives based on thorough research, demand-side data, and personal engagements with industry leaders. Visit www.hfsresearch.com.


AML RightSource Media Contact:
Mila Che, Havas Red

HFS Media Contact:
Hilary McCarthy, Clearpoint Agency