Industry stakeholders call for collective AML effort to enhance Malta’s reputation

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March, 2024 at 3:05 pm by Andre Camilleri

The Malta Institute of Accountants host AML Conference 2024

Industry stakeholders need to work together and push in the same direction to ensure the enhanced reputation of Malta’s jurisdiction, which is a fundamental element in strengthening the country’s competitiveness. This message found widespread support among accountancy and auditing professionals, industry operators as well as key regulators during the Malta Institute of Accountants’ AML Conference 2024, hosted in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

Representatives from key stakeholders including the FIAU, MFSA, the Malta Tax and Customs Administration, the Malta Business Registry and the National Coordinating Committee on Combating Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism participated and shared their insights and outlook in panel discussions and fireside chats during this event which brought a spotlight on the latest developments in the AML world.

Welcoming participants, MIA president Mark Bugeja noted that all stakeholders stand to benefit from the success and improved reputation of our financial services jurisdiction. “Beyond the legal ramifications, fostering a compliance culture within businesses is indispensable for safeguarding their reputation and preserving public trust,” he argued. Maria Cauchi Delia, the Institute’s CEO appealed for professionals, firms and regulators to work together to strengthen Malta’s fight against money-laundering, insisting that collaboration was fundamental to achieve success on this front.

The AML conference featured an in-depth analysis and discussion on the recently-published National Risk Assessment (NRA) for Malta, with key speakers highlighting the need for subject persons to incorporate the risks outlined in this updated NRA into their risk assessments, and to thoroughly review and update controls, policies and procedures as needed to address and mitigate the identified risks.

After discussing the bigger picture, the conference proceeded to address specific elements impacting the industry, such as corporate governance as well as supervision and enforcement, all of which play an important role in enhancing safeguards against both money-laundering and terrorism financing.

Further discussions focused on the new European legislative and regulatory initiatives in the pipeline, particularly the Single Rulebook and the establishment of AMLA, the new EU-wide anti money-laundering authority, providing a European perspective to developments which will transform the AML landscape over the years ahead. Indeed, most of the new rules, together with the supporting technical standards and guidelines, will be applicable in three years’ time, putting an onus on practitioners to prepare accordingly.

The AML conference wrapped up with a case-study analysis during which panellists examined feedback from real-life situations, highlighting the significance of conducting thorough checks during onboarding, understanding a client’s business model and the origin of wealth, and the importance of continuous monitoring.

The MIA AML committee contributed to the organisation of the AML conference, which was supported by Citadel Insurance, Thomson Reuters, Domain Academy and FinXP.

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