MFSA ‘fully prepared’ for Moneyval assessment later on this year, CEO says

MFSA CEO, Joe Cuschieri

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The Malta Financial Services Authority is “fully prepared” for the Moneyval assessment later on this year, its CEO, Joe Cuschieri has told The Malta Indepdendent.

Asked by this newspaper to what extent the MFSA has reached its targets in terms of anti-money laundering, MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri said that “in 2019, we set out to build the necessary technical capacity so that the MFSA integrates AML/CFT oversight into its conduct and prudential supervisory programme. This was implemented and is working well also through improved coordination with the FIAU. Furthermore, (in July 2019), the Authority in-sourced a team of financial crime experts from the UK to complement, train and develop the local AML/CFT team within the MFSA.”

“This has helped us immensely in shoring up quickly the resourcing necessary to increase the amount of onsite examination of firms which is leading to more enforcement and remedial actions. Our strategy has also raised awareness among the licensed community and practitioners regarding the risks posed by financial crime and the importance of having the necessary controls to avoid situations where a firm is used as a vehicle for financial crime or terrorist financing”, he said.

Asked how the recommendations and targets set by Moneyval can be reached, Cuschieri said that the MFSA is “fully prepared for the Moneyval assessment later on this year.”

“We have put together a detailed action plan based on the Moneyval recommendations which we are monitoring on an ongoing basis through our collaboration with the National Co-ordinating Committee within the Ministry for Finance”, he said.

“Our strategy and roadmap is delivering substantial progress in compliance standards within the financial services sector through our enhanced risk based supervisory activity, the intensity and depth of our on-site/off-site reviews and the capacity building initiatives we have taken last year and this year”, he added.

“This is leading to significant improvements in our supervisory effectiveness. We are still a work in progress but we will get there.”