22 November 2022

Royal Lancaster, London

Ray Blake

The Dark Money Files

Ray has spent a career in financial services since his first job in a bank in 1985. He soon moved into technical departments and from there into training roles and then project management and consultancy as a freelancer, latterly in anti-financial crime and regulation. With his long-term business partner, Graham Barrow, Ray created The Dark Money Files, an anti-financial crime podcast, at the start of 2019. What was initially a side project quickly became their main focus and live events and a recent virtual conference ensued. The pair are now in demand together and separately as speakers, trainers and commentators wherever financial crime and financial crime controls are discussed.


Speaker Q&A:

What can we look forward to from your session at Financial Crime 360?

‘Plain sight’ has acquired a new meaning following the Panama Papers and now the Pandora Papers disclosures. Ray and Graham will take us through the nature of the disclosures and help us understand whether they are a game-changer for the fight against money laundering, whether they just tell us what we already know — or whether the true import has not yet been recognised (and what it might be…)


Why is the topic important to you and your company? And why is the topic so important now?

The lines between criminality and legality have rarely been as indistinct as they are today, which is one of many ways in which the fight between the good guys and the bad guys is not a fair one. If we are to prevail, we need to make sure we use the tools at our disposal as carefully and as effectively as we know the bad guys will be using theirs. Already we see signs that the industry’s response to Pandora might not be the right one and we need to think very carefully about what we do next.


Where do you see the industry going with this in the future?

One of two ways. Either a very risk-averse response that makes broad-brush assumptions and paradoxically might not necessarily reduce the risk a firm has in its client base nor make society safer — or a more intelligence-focused, nuanced approach that will produce better outcomes but require more resource at least initially.


If we could grant you three wishes, what would they be?

That the good guys would overcome their reluctance to talk to each other and would actively exploit opportunities to work together and take the fight against financial crime to the next level


That all criminals (and only criminals) would wear stripey tops and carry swag bags like they did in the old comics


That Netflix would commission a documentary series on the work of two financial crime experts who present a podcast and have interesting opinions that should be shared more widely using exciting music and graphical special effects