Illicit Financial Flows 2018

Assessing the need for new approaches

1 October 2018 - 9:30am to 5:30pm
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Chatham House, London




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Despite billions spent, less than 1% of illicit financial flows are currently being seized by authorities, and international money laundering transactions are estimated to be as high as 5% of global GDP. Distrust between organizations continues to inhibit information sharing and collaborative efforts, and with approximately $1 trillion flowing out of developing economies alone it is now more important than ever to re-evaluate approaches to the fight against financial crime. 

Technological breakthroughs, political transitions and evolving financial relationships all present emerging threats as well as opportunities. But what key factors must be taken into account when designing measures and frameworks for combatting specific regional flows and breaking down global networks?  

Now in its third instalment, the Chatham House Illicit Financial Flows conference will deliver expert insights from senior policy-makers and key stakeholders on the illicit finance landscape to determine effective approaches for both public and private actors. Key questions include:

  • Where have we seen the most significant increases in illicit finance? What forms have they taken, and how can this inform disruption strategies?  
  • How have money laundering and terrorism finance networks developed in the past 12 months? How successful have international efforts been in combatting them?  
  • How can information sharing and systemic transparency be increased alongside security and privacy across sectors and borders? How can public–private cooperation be encouraged? 
  • How can regulators design a governance framework for financial institutions that is fit for purpose? What role should private actors be expected to play, and how can appropriate behaviours be effectively encouraged? 
  • What risks and opportunities do recent advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and big data, pose for detection and disruption? 

The Chatham House Rule 
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.


Monday 1 October 

Overview | What’s New? Emerging Threats and Opportunities 

This session will evaluate the evolving landscape for illicit financial flows and the potential need for new approaches, including the implications of ongoing policy shifts, the status of international terrorism and its financing and the success of recent international efforts. 

Session One | Forms and Responses 

This session will assess specific forms of illicit financial flows, exploring their regional significance and identifying effective national and international responses to combat them. Questions include: 

  • Where are flows coming from, and where are they going? Where can the most effective interventions be made? 
  • How have anti-corruption efforts advanced since the May 2016 international anti-corruption summit?  How can these efforts be sustained and augmented? 
  • What are the consequences of illicit capital flight from developing countries? What forms have these taken, and how can this inform regional disruption strategies?
  • How can law enforcement and financial institutions collaborate effectively to combat human trafficking and illegal wildlife trade? 
  • Which banking practices have proven most successful in identifying different forms of illicit flows? How can these behaviours be effectively implemented and leveraged? 
  • How can policy-makers encourage information sharing between different actors across borders? Where might this yield the greatest gains?  
  • How have illicit finance networks evolved in recent years? Is it effective to approach illicit financial flows individually, or is a more holistic approach required?

Session Two | Designing Regulatory Frameworks   

This session will explore the continuing effectiveness of existing regulatory approaches in combatting financial crime to identify steps for increasing information sharing, enhancing transparency, and designing a framework that is fit for purpose. 

  • How are regulatory developments seeking to tackle illicit financial flows?  What are the challenges, and what are the opportunities?
  • Where have developments in regulatory frameworks successfully enhanced public–/private collaboration?  How can the cross-border sharing of financial intelligence be advanced? What other regulatory developments are required to enhance the fight against illicit financial flows? 
  • What roles and responsibilities are financial institutions expected to fulfil in the fight against financial crime, and how are they enabled to do so in the current environment? 
  • To what extent do existing policies prioritize technical compliance over effectiveness? Do existing measures, such as suspicious activity reporting requirements, serve their purpose as they stand? 
  • What have been the unintended consequences of different measures, and how can they be mitigated? How might they threaten financial exclusion? 
  • How can we maximize transparency while at the same time protecting privacy? To what extent is there an inconsistency between the two, and a difficulty when upholding both? 

Session Three | Technology and Financial Crime 

This panel discussion will explore the implications of ongoing technological developments, examining the potential risks but also the breakthroughs that can aid in detection and prevention of illicit financial flows. Questions include: 

  • What are the most significant technological developments in the fight against financial crime? Where are AI and data analytics being utilized, and where might these solutions be replicated?  What best -practice in banking, customs and trade monitoring can be identified?
  • What challenges are posed by technological developments such as cryptocurrencies in detecting illicit flows? What role can blockchain/distributed ledger technology play in tackling illicit financial flows? 
  • How should regulatory frameworks be adapted to accommodate these advances? 
  • In what ways are illicit finance networks evolving as a response? Where are we seeing relationships develop? 

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2018

Register by Friday 3 August 2018 to benefit from the early booking rate.

Ways to book:

  1. Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
  2. Phone: Call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
  3. Email/Post: Download a PDF registration form, complete and return to Clare Smyllie via email or post: Chatham House, 10 St. James Square, London, SW1Y 4LE

Check if your organization is a member of Chatham House here.



Partners and major corporate members  
All organizations£495£595
Standard corporate members  
Commercial organizations£1,085£1,180
Government departments£620£700
NGOs and academics£380£460
Commercial organizations£1,190£1,295
Government departments£680£750
NGOs and academics£440


Your delegate pass includes:

  • Conference attendance
  • Documentation
  • Lunch and refreshments

Travel and accommodation are not included.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact Ben Cumming on +44 (0)20 7957 5729

If you are interested in becoming a media partner or supporting organization for this event, please contact Ayesha Arif on +44 (0)20 7957 5753

Chatham House
10 St James's Square
[email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7957 5643
Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5710

If you wish to book the venue for your own event please phone +44 (0)20 7314 2764

The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus which is on the Piccadilly and the Bakerloo Underground lines. From Piccadilly follow Regent Street southwards towards Pall Mall and take the first road on the right called Jermyn Street. Duke of York Street is the second road on the left and leads to St James's Square. Chatham House is immediately on your right.


Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a conference at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
13 Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817
[email protected]

Classic Double without breakfast: £195 +VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1U 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125
[email protected] 

Classic Room without breakfast: £205 +VAT

Book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London 
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ

Tel: 020 7493 0111
Fax: 020 7493 7121
[email protected]

Classic Queen without breakfast: £247 +VAT
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This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists.

Press can request a press pass.

For enquiries relating to the conference agenda or sponsorship please call Ben Cumming on +44 (0) 20 7957 5729

For registration enquiries please call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785

For general enquiries please email [email protected] 

The Chatham House Rule

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.