Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh
On November 4, 2019
In the Name of Allah, most Beneficent and most Merciful
Praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad and his family and companions,
Your Excellency Vice-Governor,
Ladies and Gentlemen attendees,
Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you!
First, I am pleased to welcome you all to the 11th Symposium on Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering, expressing thanks to all attendees and your participation in the activities of this symposium. I would also like to thank my fellow ladies and gentlemen from the Secretariat of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee, the Financial Academy and Refinitiv Company for preparing this symposium.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The topic of Compliance and the Anti-Money Laundering is of great interest to international and regional organizations, and legislative and supervisory bodies, recognizing the importance of what will this accomplish in enhancing the performance and solvency of financial and non-financial institutions and contributing to their plans and prevention of many risks, including the risks of money laundering.
Compliance with regulations and instructions is one of the most important pillars and foundations of the success of financial institutions. It contributes to the maintenance of reputation and credibility and the interests of customers. It also provides them with legal coverage to protect them from any regulatory or legal consequences that they might be exposed to. Compliance is a comprehensive responsibility. It is multi-sided and multi-trends. All financial and other sectors should comply with this responsibility and fulfill it given the direct positive results on the institution in particular and the financial sector in the Kingdom in general.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The financial institutions' compliance in the Kingdom with the regulations and legislations issued by the concerned authorities, to implement and execute the relevant international standards and requirements, is one of the most important factors to achieve the stability of the financial system in the Kingdom. Based on the supervisory role, and recognizing the importance of the sector and its impacts on the economic system, SAMA is working hard to protect the financial institutions under its supervision from misuse in suspicious operations, find mechanisms and controls that help and contribute to protect this sector and provide the appropriate climate and catalyst for its development and stability.
SAMA calls on all financial institutions under its supervision to comply with the regulations and instructions, in line with the international standards and requirements, and to implement policies and procedures effectively, including the policies that contribute and promote the risk-based approach. This will establish a deeper understanding of threats, vulnerabilities, and finding appropriate means and mechanisms to reduce their gravity, and in monitoring and prevention of operations, and reporting of prohibited and suspicious activities.
The interest of the financial institutions in the Kingdom in effectively complying with the regulations, legislations and international standards requirements during their financial transactions, is an important aspect and we thank them for strengthening the control measures, which contributes to the early detection of suspicious operations and reduce the exploitation of financial institutions for passing such transactions. At the same time, SAMA seeks to raise the level of compliance, overcome the challenges, address, and improve the measures conducted by financial institutions significantly because of their positive effects and repercussions, as mentioned earlier, on the financial sector. This will booster the opportunities for growth and prosperity of the financial sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Financial crimes, money laundering and terrorism financing crimes pose risks for states and societies because they bring damages to the countries' economies in particular and it damages the global economy in general. Those crimes, contribute to the disruption of security by spreading disorder and exploiting the abilities and wealth of peoples. Therefore, many countries take the initiatives to find appropriate mechanisms, and enact regulations and legislation that contribute to the strengthening, fortification and protection of their economies from exploitation with the multiplicity and growing volume of risks and challenges, as well as the diversity of methods and means of implementation by criminal gangs and the rapid and successive developments in the world of crime and criminals.
In response to these risks, Saudi Arabia sought to improve the legal framework for AML / CFT Laws in 2017, adopting a risk-based approach. The concerned authorities in the Kingdom are continuing their work in enacting and effective implementation of the rules, and the exchange of experiences and cooperation with countries for strengthening the combating regimes.
With the growing international interest in expanding the use of new technologies and their tangible positive effects on the nature of financial markets, and in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which supports entrepreneurship and the enhancement of financial services technology, SAMA has been keen to continue to strengthen the financial technology system associated with the financial institutions it supervises. It also opened the field for a number of companies, in order to upgrade the work of the banking and financial system in the Kingdom to cope in the future with advanced technological financial centers and become one of the most important financial centers, especially as our financial institutions have a great understanding and awareness of the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism and financial crimes. Our financial institutions are committed to the implementations of the international standards and requirements and have the necessary human and professional capabilities and knowledge, and full knowledge of the new technological means. This has contributed to enhancing the bonds of trust with customers of our financial sector, and led to achieve the ideal performance required and prevent and overcome many risks and obstacles.
As an extension of the efforts exerted by the Kingdom at the local and international levels in the field of Anti-Money Laundering, and Financing of Terrorism, and affirming the official position of the Kingdom's commitment to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, and supporting the measures taken to combat these crimes, and on the occasion of this symposium, SAMA and AMLPC, in cooperation with the State Security Presidency, will launched the Anti-Money Laundering awareness campaign.
This is in implementation of one of the national strategic objectives of combating money laundering and terrorism financing and the action plan prepared for its implementation and approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018, which include an awareness campaign including information about money laundering crime, methods and means used in the crime, warning against cooperation with perpetrators and legal procedures and penalties applied to the perpetrators and their accomplices. Awareness messages will be published in all mass media and social media as well as readable and visual media in Arabic and English.
I would like to congratulate you all for the Kingdom's permanent membership to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). During its Plenary held in Orlando, USA, in June 2019, FATF agreed to grant the Kingdom the seat of its membership, as the first Arab country to receive this membership. We highly appreciate the most valuable efforts made by their Highnesses and Excellences the Ministers in the relevant authorities, which contributed to strengthen and support the position of the Kingdom to overcome the process of mutual evaluation and obtain the membership. Also, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all members of the Secretariat of the AMLPC and concerned authorities and committees with combating ML/TF and the proliferation, and the representatives of the private sector for their hard work and efforts during the past three years which have been culminated, praise be to Allah, with this achievement.
The Kingdom's accession to FATF will have many considerations and privileges that contribute to the enhancement of the Kingdom's position. The most important of these is to create a geographical balance for the member of the FATF, to give better international reputation to the Kingdom and strengthen its position in the field of combating crimes, and to play a leading and prominent role in participation in the decisions and activities of FATF. It is also to improve and develop the capabilities and expertise of specialists in the Kingdom by participating in the meetings of FATF, working groups and activities.
Finally, the Kingdom will participate in the evaluation missions and groups set up for the purposes of the periodic review through the KSA nomination of assessors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You are all aware of the importance of the continuity of holding such symposiums and events, and the positive repercussions and effects that contribute to enhancing the understanding of stakeholders in financial and non-financial institutions and supervisory sectors with the risks of ML/TF, and to learn about the most important regulatory and technological developments in the field of compliance and combating financial crimes.
The symposium program is full of many topics that will benefit the attendees and participants, and contribute to raising the capabilities and technical concepts associated with the subject of commitment, which will be delivered by a group of experts and specialists in this area. This is an opportunity for participants that should be invested to learn about the latest developments and international updates in this field, sharing of experiences, knowledge and best methods and means that help develop and enhance the capabilities of participants.
In conclusion, I reiterate my welcome to the attendees and participants in this symposium, thanking you for your attendance and good listening, and wishing you and the symposium all success.
Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
*Presented on his behalf by the Vice
Governor of the Saudi Arabian
Monetary Authority, Mr. AYMAN M ALSAYARI.