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Curbing Cyber Crime

Digitisation helps industry to offer consistent quality of services.

Dubai: When it comes to sending remittances home, the expatriate community in the UAE prefers over-the-counter interaction than digital platforms, according to Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty, vice-chairman of the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group, or FERG.

Despite the digital trend still germinating, Shetty said FERG is already taking steps to set regulations against cyber crime.

“Digitisation around the world has really helped take the industry forward in terms of consistent quality of services,” Shetty told Khaleej Times.

FERG, a non-profit association formed as an initiative by the Central Bank of the UAE, represents the exchange industry in the UAE on a regional and international platform.

“Technology is a big boon for our industry, but it has also exposed us to various attacks. As the market matures, we as operators in this industry have embarked on a mission to implement the latest technology and security equipment available to safeguard data, customers’ information and the industry in general,” Shetty said.

Rajiv Ashok Raipancholia, Secretary at FERG, said: “As we are a group of exchange companies, we remit millions of dollars on a daily basis as an industry. This makes us very much prone to cyber crimes. We are looking at training on a counter level and branch level.”

“We have been very active in the past four months. We have had meetings and trainings with the Dubai Police with regards to safety and security; how we, as exchange companies, can work together to make sure no fraud attempts take place from the outside.”

Since FERG’s official establishment in 2008, there has been significant process in the sector, including a strong presence in international forums and events where information is gathered to safeguard the industry, operate in an efficient manner and offer the best products and services to customers in the UAE.

“We need to have robust mechanisms to monitor transactions on our counters. The compliance department has to be strong in day-to-day operations and systems need to be completely automated. We have to be vigilant, because in today’s world, it is compliance that runs the business,” Raipancholia added.

Shetty said strict anti-money laundering regulations and the ‘know your customer’ policy are very well entrenched into the system. We follow the guidelines stipulated by the regulators in our countries of operation, where it is mandatory to register your customer and establish their profile, so you know exactly the capacity of a person to remit money.”

“This serves as a guide for the UAE’s 139 licensed foreign exchange and remittance companies to cater to different customer segments — ranging from the tech-savvy residents and next-gen audience to blue collared workers — with a mix of brick-and-mortar networks and technology.”

Source: Khaleej Times dated May 19th 2015.§ion=uaebusiness