New study details costs, drivers of financial crime compliance

The cost of financial crime compliance in North America for 2022 is estimated at $56.7 billion, up 13.6% from 2021, according to a new study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions that surveyed institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Compliance costs have continued to increase over pre-pandemic levels, though the rate of increase may be leveling off. Larger U.S. financial firms’ costs continue to rise sharply, however, based on regulatory effects, increased financial crime exposure and labor, though there is an upswing in technology investment compared to prior years, the study said. The projected total cost of financial crime compliance for U.S. financial firms in 2022 is $45.9 billion total in 2022 ($29.4 billion for large and midsize firms), up from $40.7 billion last year and $26.4 billion in 2019. The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 has particularly affected larger U.S. financial institutions and their compliance costs, the study reported.

U.S. financial institutions face increased exposure to crimes involving digital payments, proceeds of trafficking and trade-based money laundering schemes, according to study findings. Key compliance operations challenges include regulatory reporting, customer risk profiling and digital identity verification. The combination of these challenges and increased crime exposures, according to study authors, are adversely affecting productivity, due-diligence times and customer acquisition.