Conference tackles compliance

Delegates from across the Caribbean attended the 3rd Annual Caribbean Regional Compliance Conference on 23-24 October at the newly-opened Hilton on Needhams Point, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The well-attended conference was presented by the Caribbean Regional Compliance Association in partnership with the International Compliance Association, the first year that the ICA has held its international conference outside of the UK.

Developed by a trans-Caribbean programme steering committee, the conference was a comprehensive learning and networking opportunity for professionals in compliance, regulatory and anti-money laundering sectors in the financial services industry.

Delegates enjoyed hearing from international experts tackling such issues as knowing your client, corporate reputation, ethics, terrorism financing, and protecting intellectual property.

Delegates also heard the latest updates on the regulatory progress and obligations for Caribbean financial services providers.

The conference wound up with an engaging and entertaining look at the world of money laundering and international drug trafficking by Jeffrey Robinson, the best-selling American author who has a unique insider’s view of the challenges faced by the compliance sector.

Nancy Saur of Bodden Compliance Services was the Cayman Islands Compliance Association’s representative on the conference planning team.

‘Each year, the Caribbean Regional Compliance Association raises the quality of its conference, and it looks like this trend is continuing,’ she said.

‘Whether as a compliance/risk professional you were looking to the outside (such as correspondent Relationships or messaging in advance of a major problem) or the inside (such as whether your organisation manages employee risk effectively), the conference provided value for everyone.’

Participants also had the opportunity to attend a risk-based assessment workshop on 25 October which trained participants in practical steps to reduce an organization’s regulatory risk profile, as well as assessing senior management’s capabilities in discharging regulatory obligations.

Workshop presenter David Blackmore was happy to contribute to the dialogue on how the Caribbean can best deal with its unique challenges.

‘The region is facing increasing change and uncertainty,’ he said.

‘Understanding principle-based regulation and adopting a values-led approach to compliance may help in avoiding the costs of prescriptive overseas regimes and enabling a flight to quality, absolutely essential for the continuing success of so many of the off-shore jurisdictions.’

Mr. Blackmore also noted the key themes the conference addressed were well appreciated, and it showed.

‘The Conference showed a real enthusiasm for working together, sharing ideas and finding new ways forward for one of the region’s most significant sectors.’

This type of reaction was what conference organizer Carolyn Hanson of the Barbados Compliance Association was hoping for.

‘This year, there were 22 jurisdictions represented and it was great to have wide sector coverage from a varied group of attendees,’ she said.

‘Regulation is the traffic lights of the financial sector: if everyone did the right thing all the time, we wouldn’t need compliance, but the attendance shows that compliance is a growing aspect of the financial sector which is here to stay.’

Ms Hanson was pleased that the message of cooperation was well received.

‘As individual Caribbean jurisdictions, there are some challenges walking the fine line between being too strict and compromising competitiveness, and being strict enough to please the requirements of international bodies,’ she said.

‘A number of Caribbean jurisdictions which have been subjected to meeting the increasing recommendations are finding them hard to meet on a national level.

‘This conference has reinforced the understanding that by working together as a region, we can gain the leverage we need to move forward and achieve the equivalency that we deserve.’

The next Caribbean Region Compliance Conference will be held in the British Virgin Islands in 2007.

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