I was interested to see a report on the wires that HSBC is planning to replace its - quite literally - hundreds of anti-fraud systems in use world-wide with a single, global, anti-fraud service.
The idea is that the system will span all of HSBC's 83 operations - I didn't realise they had that many -Ed - around the world and monitor bank plus card transactions around the clock.
As you might expect HSBC is taking the migration in steady stages and has announced plans to roll out a multi-topology anti-fraud system in Hong Kong in early 2009, with plans to expand the system progressively around the world.
The system in Honkers is billed as capable of monitoring all of HSBC's various services, including credit and debit cards, cheques, and other physical plus electronic banking instruments, as well as telephone and online banking.
It's not altruism and cost efficiency driving the change, as the introduction of the new Basel 2 regulations will - it says here - eventually call on all banks to identify the risk profile of all customers across all the products they use.
This means that they must effectively link the fraud profiles on a global basis, something I suspect that some customers won't be overly happy with, especially if are in the `perpetual traveller' category when it comes to paying tax.
HSBC plans to roll out its bespoke system, based on SAS's Fraud Management software, starting in 2009 and gradually expanding globally in the early part of the next decade.
The bad news about this, I've just realised, is that HSBC will be able to create a risk profile that a customer poses it on a global basis, rather than on a product by product, country by country basis.
Given the diversity of names that people use, however, especially when it comes to running up credit in foreign countries, I suspect HSBC will have a serious task on its hands to operate its global anti-fraud truly effectively.
Mind you, what do I know...