Financial services watchdog releases strategy to clamp down on money laundering

The Malta Financial Services Authority has issued guidelines that tell companies what is expected of them from a regulatory perspective as the watchdog ups its supervisory role on money laundering

The MFSA is upping its supervisory role in combatting money laundering
The MFSA is upping its supervisory role in combatting money laundering

Poor conduct by companies on prudential matters may often lead to money laundering, the Malta Financial Services Authority said as it unveiled a strategy to combat financial crime.

The regulator released its supervisory strategy for money laundering on Monday in which it details what it expects from companies to safeguard against financial crime.

The strategy lays down the plans of how the MFSA will fuse anti-money laundering supervision with its conduct and prudential supervisory activity.

The national agency for supervising anti-money laundering and the fight against terrorist financing in Malta is the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

The MFSA’s remit is to offer support to the FIAU but under the new strategy the regulator will be placing greater emphasis on money laundering controls.

“This is based on the fact that in its regulatory activities, the MFSA has often established that firms’ poor conduct and prudential arrangements may often lead to AML/CFT shortcomings,” the regulator said.

The MFSA said it will be strengthening its regulatory setup to mitigate “current and future risks” which jurisdictions like Malta may face as a global player in remote gaming, e-money, digital currencies and FinTech innovations.

MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri said the authority was committed to support the sector in “seizing this opportunity in a safe and controlled manner” by establishing a regulatory environment that fostered growth while clamping down on money laundering and terrorist financing.

“The MFSA will not accept compromises and complacency in this area. We want Malta to grow responsibly and set standards which are in line or better than those of our peers in Europe. That is why we have placed money laundering and terrorist financing as one of our key priorities in the strengthening of our regulatory system. In the coming months and years, the MFSA’s challenge is to continue with its transformation programme so that it becomes a more modern financial supervisor which embraces technology and innovation, entering the FinTech space with optimism and preparedness,” Cuschieri said.

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