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Case Study – First Exchange

First Exchange - FIRST logo

First Exchange (FIRST) is a leading brand of Money Service Operator (MSO), committed to delivering exemplary customer services and competitive rates. With a long-standing history of providing fair and efficient money exchange and remittance services in Hong Kong since 1979.  Since its inception, FIRST has evolved into the operator of the largest network of money exchange outlets in Hong Kong.

Chosen for its affordability and demonstrated comprehensiveness during the introduction, AML Accelerate became the natural choice for FIRST's goal to fortify its AML/CTF controls in response to new and evolving regulations.



Facing the expansion of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) laws in Hong Kong to the Money Service Operator sector, FIRST recognised the need to assess the ML/TF risks and evaluate their AML/CTF controls.

Initially, facing challenges resulting from a reliance on manual spreadsheet-based processes managing enterprise-wide ML/TF risk assessments and adequate resourcing, FIRST sought a comprehensive and affordable solution that could help them achieve the following objectives:

  • Comply with AML/CTF laws in Hong Kong, applying to the MSO sector
  • Provide a clear, comprehensive and affordable solution for assessing ML/TF risks
  • Provide a framework for documenting the AML/CTF Policy and related controls
  • Improve efficiencies in completing ML/TF risk assessments in an effective, repeatable manner
  • Ensure their AML/CTF Program remains current with new and evolving regulations.


The Solution:

Arctic Intelligence presented its multi-award-winning AML Accelerate Platform, positioning itself with an affordable value proposition that met all of FIRST's objectives and business requirements. Upon a demonstration, FIRST found the AML Accelerate Platform to be easy-to-use and liked the way that he platform guided them through the complexities involved in conducting money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessments.

FIRST decided to adopt the AML Accelerate Platform because of several key factors:

  • Comprehensive Risk Coverage: AML Accelerate has a comprehensive ML/TF risk assessment methodology covering a comprehensive set of risk factors and aligned controls.
  • Auditability: AML Accelerate guides the user through the end-to-end process and produces a clear ML/TF risk assessment report that clearly documents the assessment of both risks and the effectiveness of controls making it simple to explain to key stakeholders.
  • Aligned to Money Service Operators and local AML laws:  AML Accelerate has been tailored not only to over 30 industry sectors including the products and services offered by Money Service Operators but also to the AML laws in Hong Kong, providing a tailored approach to AML/CTF compliance.
  • Ongoing Updates and Support: AML Accelerate is intuitive to use, but also comes with first-class support including personalised training, comprehensive help centre materials, in-application tutorials and a simple way to seek personalised support.  In addition to this, Arctic Intelligence provides monthly regulatory compliance updates that ensure FIRST remains up-to-date with any regulatory developments.


The Result

FIRST’s successful implementation of the AML Accelerate Platform highlights the solution's effectiveness in meeting the AML/CTF compliance requirements of a leading MSO in Hong Kong.

Arctic Intelligence's tailored solution not only addressed FIRST's immediate challenges but also contributed to a more streamlined and efficient approach to AML/CTF compliance. The positive outcomes achieved underscore the significance of leveraging comprehensive technology-based solutions in today's dynamic regulatory compliance landscape.

The implementation of AML Accelerate yielded significant positive outcomes for FIRST:

  • Explainability and Defendability: AML Accelerate is designed by AML-experts and contains a robust methodology, that considers a diverse set of inherent risk indicators, with a comprehensive framework for assessing the design and operational effectiveness making it straight-forward to explain and defend the risk assessment outcomes.
  • Regulatory Updates: Monthly regulatory compliance email alerts and quarterly country risk updates provided FIRST's Board and Management peace of mind by being regularly informed on ML/TF compliance changes relevant to them.
  • Time and Cost Savings: FIRST saved considerable time and money through digitising their approach to enterprise-wide ML/TF risk assessments using a purpose-built platform, rather than having to maintain spreadsheet-based solutions.


Client Testimonial

"It’s been a pleasure working with Arctic Intelligence. The platform keeps up to date, so we don’t have to worry about whether we can continue using it. AML Accelerate has become an integral part of our AML controls, saving us time and resources, and ensuring seamless compliance in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape."

Ruby Ngan, Compliance Manager of First Exchange