Hong Kong’s Financial Intelligence & Investigation Bureau and ISCA Sign MOU to Advance the Development of Financial Forensics in Asia

3 mins read

25 April 2023

The collaboration between FIIB and ISCA provides a pathway for the conferment of the ISCA Financial Forensic Professional (FFP) credential on FIIB officers.

The Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (FIIB) of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday, 24th April to advance the development of financial forensics and widen the talent pool of qualified financial forensic professionals in Hong Kong. This is ISCA’s first MOU with an overseas law enforcement agency.

The MOU was signed by Ms. Lam Man Han, Chief Superintendent of Police, the FIIB of the Hong Kong Police Force and ISCA President, Mr. Teo Ser Luck.

The collaboration between FIIB and ISCA provides a pathway for the conferment of the ISCA Financial Forensic Professional (FFP) credential on FIIB officers.  This credential attests to the financial forensic skillsets and experience of FIIB officers and their competence to testify in court as expert witnesses during trials involving money laundering offenses.

In addition, ISCA will provide remote examinations of ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting Qualification (FFAQ) in Hong Kong for HKPF officers. Developed by ISCA in collaboration with industry experts, the ISCA FFAQ provides specialised training in forensic accounting and investigation, digital forensics, combating financial crime, and professional ethics. Completion of the programme, coupled with the attainment of relevant work experience, will lead to the conferment of the ISCA FFP designation. 

To advance the development of financial forensics in the region, FIIB and ISCA will collaborate on the professional development of financial forensic professionals and outreach efforts to widen the financial forensics talent pool. For instance, subject matter experts from the region will examine financial crime trends, analysis and investigations to create related content and raise awareness of the financial forensics field.  Both parties will also provide resources to explore research areas in financial forensics, support each other’s outreach efforts at events and conferences, collaborate and contribute to research and knowledge resources related to financial forensics.

With the MOU, the FIIB of Hong Kong Police Force aims to strengthen the capabilities of its officers to combat money laundering and terrorist financing activities, demonstrating its commitment in the fight against financial crime, including money laundering and terrorist financing.

In 2022, Hong Kong fraud-related financial crimes (such as e-shopping fraud, email scam, social media / telephone deception) reached a record high, in terms of number  (27 923 cases) and percentage of overall crime (39.9%).  The jump was mainly driven by the upsurge of cases in online shopping scams, employment fraud, investment fraud and telephone deception, with cases in 2022 increasing by 40% to 180%, compared to 2021.   Investment fraud resulted in losses of over HK$1.8 billion and telephone deception cases resulted in losses of HK$1 billion.   Against this backdrop, financial investigators with specialised skills and competence are in increasing demand, to strengthen the capacity, speed, and efficiency in investigating money laundering and related offences.

Initiated by the FIIB, a Money Laundering Expert Cadre (MLEC) was formed in late 2022.  Officers from HKPF and other law enforcement agencies with relevant experience, academic or professional qualifications were selected and trained to be professional witness experts to support frontline investigation teams, by giving expert evidence in court on money laundering typologies and applying for enhanced sentencing in ML cases. 

Chief Superintendent of Hong Kong Police Ms. Lam Man Han said, “The cooperation between FIIB and ISCA will establish comprehensive and solid frameworks and pathways for the acquisition of a recognised financial forensics qualification and the conferment of the FFP credential, which would benefit FIIB officers in combating financial crime.”

ISCA President Mr. Teo Ser Luck said, “We are honoured to play a part in combating financial crime in Asia by partnering with the FIIB of Hong Kong Police Force to further the development of financial forensics. This cross-border collaboration attests to the robustness of the ISCA FFAQ programme and the high regard for the ISCA FFP credential in the region.”

ISCA FFP credential holders are admitted to ISCA membership, which is a testament to their adherence to the highest standards in ethical and professional conduct. They are also committed to ensuring their continuing professional development during their career, including mandatory education and training hours.

In February this year, ISCA signed an MOU with the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to streamline the process for CAD officers and relevant SPF officers to attain the ISCA Financial Forensic Professional credential. This included customising the ISCA FFAQ programme for SPF.  In 2021, ISCA signed an MOU with Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to explore a pathway for eligible CPIB officers to be conferred the ISCA FFP credential and to support CPIB officers in pursuing the ISCA FFA Qualification.

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