Deloitte leaders reflect on Financial Crime Symposium in Dubai

17 April 2023 6 min. read

Senior leaders from the world of financial crime recently attended a symposium by Deloitte, gaining insight into the latest regulatory developments and emerging trends in the scene. Deloitte leaders and keynote speakers Michael Shepard and Muzammil Ebrahim reflect onthe event.

Held for the sixth time, Deloitte’s Financial Crime Symposium in Dubai was attended by stakeholders from across the financial crime landscape, including representatives of law enforcement, regulatory bodies, financial institutions, professional services firms, and technology providers.

“The symposium was a truly insightful experience exploring topics in the industry relating to illegal wildlife trafficking, the evolving challenges facing payments systems, insurance trends, regulatory changes, and political developments,” said Michael Shepard, Global Financial Crime Leader at Deloitte.

Michael Shepard at the Financial Crime Symposium in Dubai

During his keynote, Shepard honed in into the issue of illegal wildlife trafficking, which spans the illegal trade, smuggling, poaching, capture, or collection of endangered species and protected wildlife (including animals or plants that are subject to harvest quotas and regulated by permits), including their derivatives.

According to data from the World Economic Forum, illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth most lucrative global crime after drugs, human trafficking, and weapons.

“Illegal wildlife trafficking is multi-billion dollar industry that threatens the survival of endangered species. By implementing effective controls, financial flows that help sustainillegal wildlife trafficking networks can be disrupted. Anti-financial crime efforts can make the world a safer place for all,” said Shepard, who also was a keynote speaker at the 2022 edition of Deloitte’s Financial Crime Symposium.

Muzammil Ebrahim at the Financial Crime Symposium in Dubai

Muzammil Ebrahim, Deloitte’s Middle East Financial Crime & Data Analytics Leader, singled out the several discussions that highlighted the growing value added of technology as an enabler of combatting financial crime. “Advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, are key pillars of combatting financial crime.”

The discussions at the event emphasized the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors to implement robust enforcement mechanisms and ensure compliance with regulations. “Financial institutions must embed effective programs to work hand inhand with peers, regulators, advisors and law enforcement to tackle these issues,” said Ebrahim.

Muzammil Ebrahim has been with Deloitte for a decade. He joined the firm’s Middle East practice in 2021, having relocated from the South African member organisation. Shepard joined the Big Four firm in 2006, following a career in banking, legal advisory, and law enforcement. Based out of the Miami office, he has a global remit.