UAE Banks Federation: Member banks have a key role in combating money laundering based on trade and letters of credit
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 01 March 2023:
UAE Banks Federation (UBF), the unified representative body and voice of banks in the UAE, organised a virtual workshop on combating trade-and-credit-documents-based money laundering as part of its ongoing efforts to improve frameworks and procedures necessary to develop and maintain the highest levels of compliance and risk management at member banks. Held on 28th February, the workshop was hosted under the direct supervision and guidance of the Central Bank of the UAE with an aim to enhance the effectiveness of the banking and financial system to combat economic crime.
The workshop underlined the pivotal role that banks play in combating money laundering based in trade and credit documents, which attempts to disguise illegal proceeds as legitimate commercial transactions. This camouflaging negatively impacts the global trading system and reduces the efficiency of the financial system posing significant risks to the economic and social situation. The effect of money laundering can be severe as funds are often used to finance criminal and terrorist entities that harm individuals and communities worldwide.
The workshop is a continuation of UAE Banks Federation’s initiatives to enhance transparency, governance and compliance with international standards and agreements that consolidate the UAE’s position among the world’s leading financial centres, which are characterised by high levels of transparency and compliance. The Federation has organised several conferences and panel discussions to raise awareness and provide the necessary tools and resources to detect, prevent and prosecute illegal activities.
As the risks facing the banking and financial sector continue to grow due to the increasing financial crimes that seek to exploit trade exhanges within global economy, efforts to update legislation and issue new laws are accelerating to ensure safe banking for customers.
With regards to efforts in providing appropriate conditions that ensure adherence to highest standards of compliance, UAE Banks Federation is taking numerous steps and initiatives to make banks and financial institutions more resilient to risks and educate the customers and public in order to create appropriate conditions for compliance. As part of these initiatives, the federation organises the annual Regulatory Compliance Conference and several seminars to ensure that banks keep pace with the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements, as well as national anti-fraud campaigns.
Mr. Jamal Saleh, Director General of UAE Banks Federation, said, “All UAE authorities concerned place compliance with controls, and laws and regulations as highest priority. Under the guidance and supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE, we in the banking sector are working to strengthen the UAE’s leadership role as an economic, financial and commercial centre by developing, implementing and adhering to the latest systems and policies, especially in compliance, governance and transparency, as well as keeping our member banks abreast of the latest legislation and regulations in this field. In addition to encouraging investment in digital infrastructure. In addition, we work towards developing qualified cadr, especially Emiratis, to oversee the security of the banking system.”
The Director General of UAE Banks Federation added: “The banking sector plays a critical and decisive role in detecting money laundering based on trade and documentary credits, as banks represent the first line of defence against financial crimes through several procedures, including due diligence through effective risk assessments, monitoring of trade-related suspicious transactions, and comprehensive and regular training of staff to combat money laundering and other financial crimes. Furthermore, by sharing information within the banking sector and with regulators and law enforcement agencies, assisting in identifying and mitigating risks and promoting investment in cutting-edge technology that helps fight financial crime to promote a safer financial system.”
A number of experts and officials responsible for the compliance, risk management, anti-money laundering and financial crime at member banks attended the workshop, which enabled the exchange of ideas and opinions on the rapid developments in this area and the procedures banks are adopting to ensure compliance and meet the standards applicable in the UAE, which is a leading financial hub advancing in pace with international best practices.
Mr. Ramnath Sankran, Group Head of Money Laundering Surveillance and Enforcement at FAB, gave a presentation on trade-based money laundering, its risks, tools and ways to combat it. Meanwhile, Mr. Hasan Tahir, Head of Compliance and Financial Crime at ADIB, presented an overview of the nature and classification of trade-based money laundering crimes, examples, case studies, and ways to combat them.
UAE Banks Federation (UBF):
Established in 1982, UAE Banks Federation (UBF) is a professional representative body comprising 57 members of banks and organisations operating in the UAE. UBF advocates the interests of all its members and enhances cooperation and coordination between them in order to elevate the UAE’s banking ecosystem for the benefit of members, customers, and the overall UAE economy.
UBF’s mission and objectives are focused on representing its members and defending their rights and interest. UBF provides a platform for cooperation and the exchange of ideas and expertise among its members and plays a major role in raising public awareness about the contributions of the UAE banking sector to the economic and social development of the country.
UBF has a 22-member Advisory Council consisting of CEOs and General Managers from member banks and institutions, which oversees the implementation of UBF’s policies and activities. The CEOs Council also makes directional decisions through UBF’s General Secretariat for UBF’s 25 technical and 3 advisory committees, which in turn are tasked to discuss all issues relevant to the UAE banking and financial services ecosystem. UAE Banks Federation also includes a Consultative Council, which consists of chief executives of other member banks.