NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 5, 2015) – With the aim of improving the culture of compliance, the Nevis Financial Services Regulation and Supervision Department held its 2015 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Awareness Seminar and Training Workshop on March 3 and 4, 2015 at the Four Seasons Resort Conference Room.
Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialists Michelle Martin and Jean Morency were the facilitators of the seminar which covered new trends in AML/CFT, AML/CFT international laws, developing a robust AML/CFT programme, taking risk management to the next level, the roles and responsibility of the FIU and regulated entities in relation to suspicious transaction reporting.
Regulator Heidi-Lynn Sutton in delivering welcome remarks, expressed that it would take harmonized efforts amongst not only government departments and agencies but also the public and private sectors to ensure that a strong AML/CFT regime is upheld to prevent the exploitation of our economy.
She also stated that she understood that the fight against money laundering would always be an issue.
“The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing would be arduous and protracted,” she said.
Sutton advised practitioners to know their customers and their customers’ businesses as customer identification is the first line of defense against money laundering, always report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit, establish and maintain proper records of all your clients financial transactions and be alert of any unusual activity, appoint a compliance officer to liaison between your institution and the regulator and get to know the key pieces of legislation.
Key speaker and Financial Advisor for the Nevis Island Administration Laurie Lawrence explained that compliance must no longer be seen as a cost but it should be seen as an investment that will bring positive return in the long run.
”The theme for this conference “De-risking your institution by improving the culture of compliance” is very instructive as it focuses our attention on learning the developing behaviour patterns that would make our organizations more secure…If we do not continue to assess risk of doing business prior to and during the business relationship our companies will suffer serious reputational and financial losses and will eventually wither and die…On the other hand, those companies that aggressively pursue a positive compliance culture will become more stable and competitive and will realize growth in income and profits,” he said.
He also stated that if a company is not willing to introduce and reinforce behavioural, ethical and compliance standards then it should not be in business for the risk of non compliance is just too great.
He said that the main reason for hosting this seminar annually is to educate and sensitize directors, managers and employees of regulated businesses about the importance of improving their compliance culture.