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Risk Ready Mauritius empowers compliance professionals in Mauritius

Risk Ready Mauritius empowers compliance professionals in Mauritius.
Risk Ready Mauritius empowers compliance professionals in Mauritius.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions hosted an event with the theme “Risk Ready Mauritius” to empower compliance professionals in Mauritius on 26 March. The event, held at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, brought together leading experts from the industry, compliance and regulatory domains with a focus on how Mauritius can navigate current challenges in the realm of financial crime and fraud prevention, including the rise of scams such as ‘money muling’, and how evolving risks can be tackled through technological solutions.

Global regulatory trends impacting upon risk management

Highlighting some of the global regulatory trends which could impact upon organisations in Mauritius, Jonny Bell, Director, Financial Crime Compliance Strategy at LexisNexis Risk Solutions explained, “We are seeing geopolitical tensions causing a fragmented regulatory landscape, impacting sanctions. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics are also gaining traction, requiring financial institutions to integrate them into compliance efforts. The rise of digital assets like Bitcoin is prompting increased regulatory scrutiny, with authorities establishing dedicated bodies like the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority in the UAE. These trends all influence how firms invest in compliance solutions. As costs rise and geopolitical tensions simmer, firms are seeking efficient ways to navigate a complex regulatory environment.”

In terms of the impact of these trends on Mauritius and the African continent, Jonny elaborated: “Africa faces some key regulatory challenges that we expect to persist. Scrutiny from institutions like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is likely to continue as long as African countries strive for financial stability. Additionally, data privacy and data gathering pose challenges similar to those seen in the Middle East, with discussions around data residency rules mirroring those of GDPR legislation in the UK and the European Union.”

Focus on the regulatory framework for innovation in Mauritius

An overview of the regulatory framework for FinTech in Mauritius, as an area posing new challenges for risk management, was provided by Jessica T. Naga, CEO of MINDEX Group. Mrs Naga highlighted that “it is a very exciting time for us as Mauritians and Africans to watch what Mauritius is doing in terms of the regulatory framework”. She underlined that Mauritius’ clear regulatory framework for virtual assets, under the VAITOS Act, brings certainty to stakeholders and considered that “Mauritius is doing better than very sophisticated jurisdictions legally”.

Responding from the audience as a guest at the event, Renu Audit, Director of Authorisation and Supervision at the Financial Services Commission, confirmed that Mauritius was one of the first movers in establishing fully fledged legislation on virtual assets in the form of the VAITOS Act. Noting that the Financial Services Commission has started granting licences to market players, Mrs Audit mentioned that public-private partnerships were important in this agile sector as regulators could not do their job without understanding what was happening on the ground, and vice versa.

Looking out to the African continent, Mrs Naga elaborated that: “The digital asset landscape in Africa presents a unique opportunity. Arbitrage trading exists, as seen in South Africa, but fragmentation across exchanges hinders collaboration and growth. However, digitalisation offers a chance to move beyond competition and focus on shared goals like establishing Africa as a strong financial centre. By leveraging existing strengths and prioritising user experience, collaboration can address industry challenges. Effective regulation that understands industry practices can further build trust and allow all players to thrive.”

Guarding against fraud and preventing scams

Rob Woods, Director International Market Planning; Financial Services SME at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, shared some of the latest statistics collected by the company on global attack patterns, which showed that human-initiated attacks had increased by 20% year-on-year, while the mobile attack rate had increased by 58%. In terms of automated bot attacks, they had noted 3.5 billion cases, representing 27% year-on-year growth, with a massive 894% increase in the financial services sector. He also explained the process of ‘money muling’ between different banks and entities, emphasising that “it takes a network to fight a network” and that understanding connections in both directions can be essential.

Mr Woods emphasised that, when choosing a fraud prevention system, “the key is to find a solution that balances security with a smooth user experience. Affordability is another important factor. Not every business can afford the most comprehensive solution. The best approach is to identify your core vulnerabilities and prioritize features that address them. Look for solutions with a modular design, allowing you to add functionalities as needed without significant additional engineering effort.”

Mr Woods further elaborated that, “Collaboration is another weapon in the fight against fraud. By sharing anonymised data on suspicious activity, banks can collectively identify and block emerging threats. Consortiums allow banks in the same region or industry to share information securely and efficiently, creating a more comprehensive defense against fraudsters. This community collaboration allows participants to benefit from each other's insights while respecting individual data privacy concerns.”

Taking steps to mitigate risk in Mauritius

The event concluded with a panel session with local market players, including Suraj Nosib, Head of Compliance at Bank One, Ashneema Hurry, MLRO at AXYS Capital Markets and Roshan Goolaup, Interim Head of ICT at AfrAsia Bank.

Sharing his experience in the discussion, Mr Nosib remarked that phishing attacks were on the increase and explained that banks were moving towards the greater use of technology to counter these. Ms Hurry identified a need to focus more on training, to prevent people from falling into scams on Facebook, for example. Summing up, Mr Goolaup underlined up the importance of reaching a good equilibrium between the conduct of staff and customers and technology investment to mitigate risk.

Overall, the event served as a valuable resource for participants to build robust and future-proof compliance frameworks within their organisations.

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions provides customers with innovative technologies, information-based analytics, decisioning tools and data management services that help them solve problems, make better decisions, stay compliant, reduce risk and improve operations. Headquartered in metro-Atlanta, Georgia it operates within the Risk market segment of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Editorial contacts
Perpetual Motion Samantha Seewoosurrun (+23) 057 724400 samantha@perpetualmotionltd.com
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