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FCSPs attend industry training

More than 80 financial and corporate service providers last week attended a special collaborative training effort hosted by two of the industry's key regulators and a major stakeholder. Pictured: Left to right: Latonia Symonette-Tinker, executive, BACO; Dave S Smith, executive director, SCB; Joann Fritz-Creary, legal counsel and training officer, FIU; and Robertha Davis, officer, SCB. 

Monday, April 15, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013

More than 80 financial and corporate service providers (FCSPs) last week attended a special collaborative training effort hosted by two of the industry’s key regulators and a major stakeholder.

In its capacity as the Inspector of Financial and Corporate Services, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (SCB) hosted the industry briefing at the British Colonial Hilton, Nassau April 8, 2013.

The inspector teamed up with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO) for the session.

“The Securities Commission of The Bahamas is pleased to collaborate with the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers to ensure awareness and compliance,” said SCB executive director Dave Smith.

“The undertaking to ensure compliance with enacted legislation, such as the Financial Transactions and Reporting Act, 2000, the Anti-Terrorism Act and other key legislative requirements, is made easier when there is collective engagement among industry stakeholders.”

FIU legal counsel and training officer Joann Fritz-Creary provided training on anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing.

Fritz-Creary covered such topics as what money laundering is and how it occurs, what constitutes terrorist financing, what a suspicious transaction is, how to prepare a Suspicious Transactions Report and reporting obligations.

She also engaged the audience in several extra-jurisdictional case studies.

BACO executive Latonia Symonette-Tinker addressed the importance of proper risk management for financial institutions to be in compliance with relevant laws and avoid being used as conduits for money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities.

She cited the Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Terrorism Financing HandbooK and Code of Practice for Financial and Corporate Service Providers, and The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ adopted Guidelines for the Prevention of Money-Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, saying that a documented risk-based know your customer (KYC) process is required.

According to Symonette-Tinker, no single risk rating methodology exists for all reporting entities.

She said that approaches to risk rating generally involve the identification and measurement of potential risks for money laundering and terrorist financing, the development of strategies to mitigate those risks, and the focusing of resources to best manage high-risk clients and business activities.

Officer in the SCB’s Inspections Department, Robertha Davis, said she hoped her presentation would help allay concerns FCSPs may have about onsite inspections and gave practical examples of how licensees could facilitate a smooth onsite inspection.

During an onsite inspection, appointed agents of the Inspector visit the premises of the FCSP operator to conduct the examination.

Davis explained that the examination focus has been broadened in scope from anti-money laundering (AML) to include modules such as a review of corporate governance and financial operations.

Davis stressed the importance of good record-keeping, informed responses and an organized filing system as key in aiding and efficient examination.

The SCB issued a risk assessment survey to FCSP licensees to be better informed about the products, services and other demographic information to facilitate oversight appropriate to the risk inherent in individual FCSP operations. Ultimately, this exercise would assist in determining the frequency of examinations for financial and corporate service providers.

The commission was appointed the inspector on January 1, 2008, and is therefore responsible for ensuring all persons operate in accordance with the Financial and Corporate Service Providers Act, which provides for the licensing and regulation of FCSPs.

Prensa Latina, Cuba's multi-language online news website, is reporting that according to Paul Gucwa, Bahamas Petroleum Company's chief operating officer, there is a 25-30 per cent chance they will discover oil in The Bahamas.

The ZNS broadcast network has reported that although several Bahamians were participating in the Boston Marathon yesterday none are believed to have been hurt. Watch a news report here.

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