Public and private sector cooperation key to combatting money laundering


Working relationships between local public and private sector agencies combatting money laundering and terrorist financing are growing stronger, thanks to ongoing work by National Coordinator for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG) Elisabeth Lees.

Appointed to co-ordinate the Cayman Islands response to recent recommendations by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) to improve the local AML/CFT regime, Lees has spent the last few months working, along with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit to coordinate the actions taken by the public sector to implement the recommendations in the report and to facilitate outreach to the private sector.

In a report published in March 2019, the CFATF, the regional body set up to evaluate a country’s measures to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing, said the country needs to improve the local AML/CFT regime in several areas, including increasing its understanding of the risks in the jurisdiction and ensuring all entities that conduct relevant financial business implement robust AML/CFT measures.

The Cayman Islands has until February 2020 to demonstrate to the global standard setter, the Financial Action Task Force, that it has made positive and tangible progress in implementing the recommendations of the report. Failure to do so could result in the FATF imposing a remediation plan on the Cayman Islands, and the jurisdiction being placed on the compliance document.

Successful implementation of the CFATF recommendations, explains Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, requires continuous stakeholder engagement by the local public sector and industry.

Commenting on Lees’ appoint and expertise and years of commitment to the fight against money laundering/financing of terrorism, the Premier noted: “The Cayman Islands has always worked hard to stay abreast of global regulatory measures. With this role and others around the public service that focus on increased coordination and improved communication within our local financial and commercial sectors as part of this process, we are taking positive steps towards implementing the report’s recommendations”.

At a recent meeting of relevant public and private sector organisations, the Premier specifically reiterated the need for all agencies to work together on behalf of the country to successfully implement the CFATF recommendations and improve the Cayman Islands AML/CFT framework as a matter of national priority.

All public sector bodies involved in the CFATF response have begun making amendments to their processes and procedures to meet the February 2020 deadline, to ensure enhanced coordination and cooperation in relation to the jurisdictions’ AML / CFT regime. Self-Regulatory Bodies are also included in the coordination efforts and discussions with private stakeholders have included meetings with groups like the Cayman Islands Compliance Association.

The National Coordinator is one of over 100 positions with roles to play in the AML/CFT fight that have been created with funding allocated over the next few years. These positions were distributed between agencies such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Customs and Border Control, the Financial Reporting Authority and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority among others.

Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG), Money laundering, Terrorist financing, Appointment, Elisabeth Lees, Cayman Islands

Cayman Funds