30 March 2012

Carey Olsen hosts global anti-money laundering expert Cedric Woodhall in Guernsey

Carey Olsen brought global anti-money laundering (AML) expert Cedric Woodhall to Guernsey on 27 March to outline the latest recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In a breakfast seminar chaired by Carey Olsen partner Mark Dunster, Mr. Woodhall told nearly 100 finance professionals how the changes would affect their businesses.

He said: “The recommendations call for a risk-based assessment approach, which should help financial institutions to allocate their due diligence resources more effectively. FATF is seeking to enhance due diligence and enforcement capabilities where appropriate, to deal with global threats such as proliferation and corruption.”

FATF now recommends that financial institutions identify domestic politically exposed persons (PEPS) as well as foreign ones.

FATF is the global standard-setter in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Its recommendations are used by more than 180 governments worldwide, including Guernsey and the UK, as the benchmark against which legislation to combat such crimes is used.

Advocate Dunster raised some thought-provoking questions about what the industry knows as “regulatory arbitrage”. “If countries are following the same FATF guidelines, why is the playing field still not level?” he said. “Is Guernsey suffering by being overly prescriptive or restrictive on such matters compared to our competitors elsewhere?” He noted that some companies still avoided employing appropriate due diligence with potential customers through the use of subsidiary offices in jurisdictions where standards were lower.

Mr. Woodhall is the former head of International Financial Intelligence, Terrorism Finance and Counter Proliferation at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). He chaired the Operational Coordination Group on PEPs and was head of the UK Asset Recovery Office. Advocate Dunster specialises in litigation, compliance and financial regulatory matters. He advises institutions on regulatory matters including AML.