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Study Reveals Annual Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Totals U.S.$15 Billion in Latin America

True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study – Latin America Reveals Organizations Prioritizing Cost Reduction While Ensuring Regulatory Adherence

  • Financial crime compliance costs have risen for 97% of financial institutions
  • Sixty-nine percent (69%) of financial institutions prioritize cutting compliance costs in next 12 months
  • Financial crime and money-laundering activities involving the use of AI are also on the rise


ATLANTA — LexisNexis® Risk Solutions released the findings of its latest True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study – Latin America. The commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, reveals that financial crime compliance costs have increased for 97% of financial institutions in 2023. The total cost of financial crime compliance in Latin America has reached U.S.$15 billion.

Financial institutions (FIs) are seeking ways to reduce costs while complying with regulations, with 39% identifying the escalation of financial crime regulations and regulatory expectations as the primary factor driving increases in compliance costs. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of FIs are prioritizing compliance program cost cutting in the next 12 months.

Sixty-seven percent of financial institutions witnessed higher increases in compliance costs related to labor in each of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, emphasizing the investment needed in highly qualified resources to meet stringent compliance requirements.

Key findings from the study:

  • Technology costs are driving increases in expenses for financial institutions, emphasizing the substantial investment required to meet stringent compliance requirements. Specifically, 69% of organizations noticed rises in technology costs related to networks, systems and remote work, including at 80% of companies in Mexico, 76% in Brazil and 63% in Colombia.
  • Cryptocurrencies, digital payments and artificial technologies are emerging as tools for illicit activities. Organizations are grappling with the impact of these sophisticated criminal methodologies within an already complex regulatory landscape. When asked about the types of financial crime FIs had observed significant increases of more than 20% in the past 12 months, 24% reported heightened use of AI, while 20% of companies identified financial crime involving cryptocurrencies.
  • Increasing financial crime regulations and regulatory expectations are a top factor in rising financial crime compliance costs for 39% of organizations. This trend is followed by an increased requirement for automation, data and tools to support financial crime compliance at 35% of organizations across Latin America with Brazil leading at 45% and Mexico and Colombia at 31% and 30%, respectively.

“The cost of financial crime compliance is clearly rising for financial institutions across Latin America which is being felt by teams across the compliance workflow,” said Matt Michaud, Global Head of Financial Crime Compliance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Skilled in-house compliance teams are essential, but businesses should be actively seeking ways to reduce labor costs while improving compliance efficiency. Criminals adapt quickly and FIs require a partner with advanced tools, data and analytics to not only keep pace but to stay ahead."

The True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study – Latin America compiles responses from 268 senior decision-makers responsible for financial crime compliance at financial institutions in the LATAM region including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Panama. It highlights key pain points related to the cost, current state and challenges presented by financial crime compliance operations.

Recommendations for combating financial crime:

  • Balance compliance effectiveness with customer experience. Financial institutions are grappling to acquire and retain customers in the digital era. The winners will be those that can deliver seamless customer onboarding and transaction experiences. Striking the right balance between customer experience and financial crime compliance efficiency involves streamlining KYC and onboarding processes, reducing false positives and allowing legitimate transactions to proceed without inconveniencing the customer.
  • Embrace new technologies to counter emerging financial crimes. Criminals are increasingly using new technologies for their activities. In addition to deploying advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-based compliance models, financial institutions should leverage privacy-preserving technologies and advanced analytics to swiftly identify new crime patterns to outpace cybercriminals and counter sophisticated financial crime.
  • Employ compliance tools and analytics to manage costs and enhance efficiency. Labor costs rank highest in financial crime compliance spending. While in-house compliance teams with expertise are crucial, partnering with an experienced and proven technology provider will alleviate some labor costs and enhance compliance efficiency. To identify the right partner, organizations should focus on their future-fit capabilities, including proven expertise in digital financial services, ease of integration, robust data management, advanced analytics, lightweight software-as-a-service deployments and the ability to balance effectiveness with customer experience.

Download the latest True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study – Latin America, available in Spanish and Portuguese only.


Forrester conducted a global online survey of 1,181 senior decision-makers at financial institutions to evaluate the cost, current state and challenges presented by financial crime compliance operations. The study began in May 2023 and was completed in June 2023. Two hundred and sixty-eight (268) survey participants were from Latin America, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Panama. The survey asked participants about organizational priorities, exposure to financial crime activities, financial crime spending and factors driving an increase in financial crime costs, challenges in compliance screening operations, the benefits of financial crime operations and future implementation plans.

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis® Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data, sophisticated analytics platforms and technology solutions to provide insights that help businesses across multiple industries and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information, please visit LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RELX.

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