The UAE implemented the anti-money laundering law in October 2018 to combat terrorism financing.
The UAE's Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (Ferg) on Sunday stressed its commitment to purge the emirates from financial fraud through strict compliance with anti-money laundering regulation.
At the third edition of its annual Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Operations Heads conference in Dubai, members of the group stressed the need for swift detection and a modern mechanism to combat crime. Attended by over 170 representatives from 65 exchange houses, the conference highlighted issues related to AML, risks, measures, and solutions associated with the effective operations of foreign exchange and remittance service providers in the UAE. During the conference, representatives shared critical insights on the current state of compliance in exchange houses and discussed areas of improvement. The UAE implemented the anti-money laundering law in October 2018 to combat terrorism financing.
This law seeks to combat money-laundering and to establish a legal framework that supports and strengthens the efforts of the relevant authorities in countering money-laundering and related crimes. The law also counters financing of terrorist operations and suspicious organisations, which enhances the UAE's commitment to international recommendations and treaties.
Osama Al Rahma, vice-chairman of Ferg, said as the UAE seeks to benchmark itself against global standards, the remittance and financial industry must raise standards accordingly. "Getting a deep understanding of the Central Bank's regulations is only the first step. We need to create a culture of communication across departments in different exchange houses," he said.
Al Rahma said the group needed to establish committees and meet regularly for updates and ensure that the same level of understanding exists across functions. "Ensuring this alignment will help businesses in our industry to mitigate the risk of becoming non-compliant and labelled as 'high-risk', which, as we all know, can paralyse any company."
"By adopting the latest technology and aligning the industry with emerging regulations, we aim to create a safer, more secure and progressive remittance and foreign exchange landscape in the country. Threats and risks are rapidly evolving, and it is only through a culture of continuous learning and collaboration that we can stay ahead in this ever-changing world of finance," said Al Rahma.
Panellists at the event suggested that the role of the compliance officer must evolve and go beyond the policing duties traditionally allocated. They must become consultants to the business and contribute by designing policies and ensuring that operations staff are adequately trained. There was also a call for exchange houses to recognise their audit function as a revenue driver that protects the business. The participation of the Central Bank of the UAE was one of the key highlights of the event.
Associate Business Editor of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.
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