International undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students
The global community is committed to broadening financial inclusion, providing access to formal financial services to more than two billion people who are currently excluded. At the same time, there is a firm global commitment to ensure that integrity of the system is maintained and especially that the abuse of the system for money laundering or financing of terrorists and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is prevented.
In the past, financial integrity and financial inclusion were viewed as conflicting financial policy goals. More recently, however, global leaders have recognised these goals as complementary and as objectives to be pursued alongside financial stability and consumer protection goals. Appropriate alignment between these goals is however complex to achieve. New developments in technology (digital financial services, Fintech, Regtech, etc.) provide important opportunities for improved alignment, but they also simultaneously challenge the capacity of national policymakers and regulators, especially in those countries where financial inclusion levels are low.
The unit will focus financial integrity and financial inclusion with a specific focus on financial inclusion of Muslims.
Financial Integrity: Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorists
The development, contents and impact of the international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) relating to anti-money laundering and countering of financing of terrorists will be studied. These developments will be contextualised in relation to digital financial services, digital identity, regtech, and tax transparency as well as anti-corruption initiatives. The course will investigate money laundering and terrorist financing methodologies, the rules that countries and financial institutions should implement to meet FATF standards and the consequences of non-compliance. It will also consider the effectiveness of the current approaches by analysing a range of country practices as well as prominent institutional compliance failures. The increased costs of compliance and the resultant “de-risking”-driven denial of services to low income individuals and institutions in poorer countries as well as the impact of privacy will also receive attention.
Financial Inclusion: The Halal Economy Bridging Integrity and Inclusion
Financial inclusion of socially and economically vulnerable people has gained increasing attention in recent decades. The move towards a more inclusive financial system includes the development of an arguably new financial system, the Islamic financial system. Islamic finance, in its current guise, is a distinctively modern phenomenon. The first modern Islamic financial institutions were established in former British colonies – Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia – in the 1960s and mainly targeted at rural populations. While the market might once have been restricted to the Muslim community and Muslim countries, its elevation to the main stage of global finance was well heralded when it was embraced by mainstream financial actors such as Goldman Sachs and by the British and Hong Kong governments who started issuing sukuk (Islamic bonds) in 2014. Islamic finance embeds a broader concept of integrity, namely integrity in the sense of being true to its religious roots and complying with conventional financial standards as well as Islamic standards. Nonetheless, FATF concept of integrity and adherence to the FATF standards are also very relevant to these services, given their potential vulnerability to terrorist financing abuse.