the full picture, this week – 9 November 2018
While we’ve all been gripped by US election fever this week, the world of regulatory compliance has seen its fair share of the action, too. We look at what’s coming for US banks under a Democrat-controlled House, the UK’s new strategy and agency focused on organised crime and Japan’s new casino sector before rounding up with the latest on US sanctions, and some AI-powered anti-financial crime initiatives.
financial crime and regulation
It would be remiss of us to start off anywhere but in the United States, which has had the world gripped in election fever. As Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, US banks should gear up for a ramped up regulatory environment under Rep. Maxine Waters, a staunch opposer of the Trump administration’s proposals to ease regulation aimed at financial institutions, reports the AP News.
Across the Atlantic, the UK government has launched a new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, backed by funding of at least £48 million in 2019 to 2020, that will expand law enforcement capabilities focused on tackling illicit finance. According to Security and Economic Crime Minister, Ben Wallace:
Serious and organised crime is the deadliest and most damaging national security threat faced by the UK… Many serious and organised criminals think they are above the law. This strategy is determined to challenge that assertion.
Ben Wallace also announced the launch of a new partnership aimed at tackling financial and economic crime. The National Economic Crime Centre is made up of the National Crime Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the City of London Police, the Home Office, the Financial Conduct Authority and other agencies.
HMRC, however, suffered a blow when a first-tier tax tribunal upheld an appeal from a UK law firm following a request from the government agency for details of clients who had sought the firm’s advice on offshore structures.
Rounding off news from the UK, Zamira Hajiyeva, the subject of the first unexplained wealth order has been arrested and faces extradition.
Malta Today reports on the country’s new anti-money laundering laws and warns the families of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to expect closer scrutiny, but Malta’s financial intelligence unit stressed the need for risk-based and proportionate measures saying:
A high-risk investment is one thing, but the child of a government minister opening up a bank account to receive their university stipend is another.
Maltese banks will also need to establish that source of wealth and funds are not the result of financial crime.
A new report from Deloitte explores “PEPs in the Age of GDPR”.
Japan’s legalisation of casino gambling in December 2016 started a race for licences, but before this new industry can be established an advisory panel to the Japanese government has highlighted seven regulatory topics to be addressed, of which anti-money laundering regulation was one.
bribery and corruption
Are small and medium sized enterprises more exposed to anti-bribery regulatory action than large corporations? That’s what lawyers told a House of Lords committee. Referring to the R v Skansen Interiors case, in which interior design company Skansen was convicted of bribery offences despite having self-reported and fired the wrongdoers, Conservative peer Lord Hodgson said most convictions appeared to involve ‘small’ companies and that the ‘big boys are able to play to a completely different set of rules.’
The Guardian reports that Israeli police have found sufficient evidence to charge Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and relative, David Shimron, with bribery offences and money laundering for his role in pushing the government’s purchase of nuclear-capable submarines.
A raft of new US sanctions against Iran are in place, but eight countries have been granted waivers. China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea have been given temporary waivers of six months to eliminate their imports. In the “largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime,” the US Treasury imposed penalties on 700 Iranian and Iranian-linked individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels.
As a workaround, Europe plans to launch a special clearing house, known as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will allow European companies to bypass the newly imposed sanctions.
Meanwhile, Africa News reports that Eritrean ports will be the major beneficiaries of the United Nations’ proposed lifting of sanctions on the country.
‘Refund money wiring fraud’, in which criminals target elderly victims by phone to trick them into transfering money by making them believe they will be refunded a higher amount, is on the rise in Japan. Now, a Japanese company has invented an AI-powered ATM machine that can recognise a user talking over the phone during a money transfer and display a warning to stop the transaction.
Christof Schulte, head of Germany’s troubled Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), plans to crackdown on the country’s real estate sector. Schulte suggested the use of artificial intelligence to prioritise reports of suspicious transactions submitted to the agency.
the latest from encompass
If you weren’t able to catch our webinar yesterday you can watch on demand here. In this highly informative webinar, Amy Bell, legal industry advisor to encompass, summarised the key regulatory drivers behind the need to identify and verify source of wealth and source of funds, and provided some practical guidance on how to approach this challenge.
Exploring process automation for Know Your Customer (KYC)? Over on our blog, we recently explored the steps within the KYC process that are ripe for automation, and those that still need the human touch.
Our latest video explains how encompass helps private equity firms reduce potential exposure to regulatory and reputational risk by automating due diligence for portfolio companies and investors.
meet the encompass team
From 12 – 16 November the world’s largest platform for the global FinTech Community will be taking place in Singapore and we’ll be there! Singapore Fintech Festival features dozens of events including workshops, awards, demonstrations and an exhibition. If you’re heading along, get in touch today, we’d love to meet up!
Get in touch today if you’d like to pre-arrange a meeting with our team to discuss automating your Know Your Customer and due diligence processes.
The world of Know Your Customer (KYC), compliance and financial crime never sleeps, and if your challenges are keeping you up at night let us help. encompass robotically automates information and news discovery for KYC requirements for onboarding, event-driven refresh and remediation.
Driven by your internal policies, our platform automatically constructs corporate ownership structures, discovers beneficial owners, and in minutes screens all relevant entities and persons for regulatory, reputational and financial risk.