Cayman Finance hosts money laundering risk seminar

Cayman Finance has hosted an informational seminar to better inform the public about the government’s money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment surveys that are under way.

Under the Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations on International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism issued in 2012, each country is required to carry out an evaluation of the risks it faces in these areas.

The first FATF recommendation prescribes that countries should “identify, assess and understand” their risks and take action to ensure they “are mitigated effectively.”

Government is using a methodology developed by the World Bank to carry out its National Risk Assessment and says surveys are an essential part of the information gathering to identify certain vulnerabilities across various industry sectors.

Jude Scott, Cayman Finance chief executive officer, said, “The results of these surveys are very important to the future of the Cayman Islands financial services industry, so Cayman Finance wanted to provide an opportunity for individuals to gain a better understanding of the process, while having the chance to have their questions answered.”

Francis Arana, head of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit at the Attorney General’s Chambers, led a question and answer session at the seminar.

“These surveys are the first step in a much wider assessment of the Cayman Islands by the FATF, therefore, as a jurisdiction, it is vital that we get as many accurately completed surveys as possible,” Mr. Arana said. “The seminar was an ideal platform allowing me to explain the surveys’ intricacies in more detail.”

The success of the National Risk Assessment will be tested by the next Caribbean Financial Action Task Force inspection of Cayman’s anti-money laundering regime, which is expected in early 2017.

Sandra Edun-Watler, president of the Cayman Islands Compliance Association, was one of several industry association representatives who attended the seminar. She said the format allowed for all questions to be answered.

“I felt the message got across to those who may not have had an appreciation or previously known the importance of properly preparing for the assessment, the tremendous collaborative work involved, and the reasons behind why this survey is being undertaken,” she said.

Based on feedback provided at the seminar, Mr. Arana confirmed that the survey deadline will be extended to Friday, April 24, to facilitate greater participation, particularly from the securities industry.

Mr. Scott said the extension of the deadline is a great example of how Cayman Finance can facilitate “meaningful dialogue between industry and government to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.”