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Insurance Institute hosts anti-money laundering conference

In its 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the US State Department identified Belize, as one of fourteen countries that is a major money laundering nation due to being a transshipment point for marijuana and cocaine. The financial sector is making efforts to equip itself with the tools to recognize money laundering activities. This week, the Insurance Institute of Belize is hosting a one week conference on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism.  Love News spoke with Caryl Meighan, Vice President of the Insurance Institute of Belize about the conference.

Caryl Meighan, Vice President of the Insurance Institute of Belize: “Today we are doing internal audit and for the remainder of the week we will be focusing on compliance officers. The lecturer today, there are two of them and they are very experienced and what they are doing is sharing very important information and techniques to identify red flags for these types of crimes. So if you take what you learned today and you put into practice into your organization you could actually find that you have more fluid transactions without these types of financial crimes eroding your business.”

To open a bank account or to insure your home you are being required to present several pieces of documentation. Michelle Martin, the President of Compliance Aid & Anti-Money Laundering & Financial Crime Institute, said that this is because the financial institutions are regulated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) based in Paris, France which is responsible to set the international anti-money guideline. Martin in her presentation shared how financial institutions can be in compliance with the guidelines.

Michelle Martin, the President of Compliance Aid & Anti-Money Laundering & Financial Crime Institute: “This week we’ve been speaking to the banks, the credit unions and the insurance which are amongst some of the industries that are regulated; there are other industries regulated here in Belize and each one of these regulated entities regardless of your size if you are a one man shop or if you are a large or small entity there are four main requirements that are required of you. They are required to have written policies and procedures in place that are in line with your laws here in Belize, they are required to have a compliance officer, they are required to have annual training every year and to do an independent AML audit which today we are actually speaking with the auditors as to how to conduct that audit. So basically this week we’ve been educating them on some of the new trends that have been happening in this arena that they need to be aware of. We have been speaking to them about their roles and responsibilities as it pertains to their individual companies and the processes that they need to have in place per the law to be in line. Belize ended up having a good score when it has it’s mutual evaluation and is examined on an international level. And of course not being compliant with all of this will affect your correspondent banking relationship, derisking you know there was the issue here in Belize as there is in many other countries right now with the whole derisking. There is compliance with FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and CRS Common Reporting Standards; so we’ve been talking about all these new regulatory requirements that these companies are required to do in order to be compliant.”

The conference continues tomorrow and Friday focusing on specialized compliance.