Institute of Finance - Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
15-16 May 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 9th Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering Seminar, and I would like to thank you for attending and participating. I also would like to thank all who contributed to the preparation of this seminar, including the Institute of Finance (IOF), Thomson Reuters, and the Secretariat of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC). I have been pleased with the development and continuity of this event, the topics of which have drawn attention of regulators and financial and non-financial institutions within and outside Saudi Arabia, in light of the increasing use of ICT and its tangible impact on capital markets, especially cross-border capital flows. In this year's meeting, we host a distinguished group of AML/CFT experts from the public and private sectors as well as a number of experts from regional and international organizations concerned with this matter. A large number of specialists from relevant Saudi authorities is also participating. To emphasize its key role, the AMLPC has been keen to be a permanent and official participant in this annual gathering, and it looks forward for it to be held more times in cooperation with the IOF and Thomson Reuters so as to contribute to enhancing concepts of compliance and AML.
As it is known to everyone, ML is a major challenge facing the international community. Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in ML crimes and diversity of their methods, and related planning and organization have added to ML severity and spread. We also are all aware of the economic, social and security consequences of ML crime as it does not only affect the country in which it is perpetrated, but also affects economies and security of many other jurisdictions.
To combat this epidemic, countries tend to apply international standards and requirements issued in this regard. Nevertheless, countries with poor record in security and control and high rates of crime and corruption can constitute safe havens for perpetrators of this crime as they exploit weak restrictions and requirements of capital inflows. This creates negative economic and social effects, mistrust in the economic system and governing legislation, and an unfavorable environment for investment.
The AMLPC represents, and promotes the role of, Saudi Arabia in regional and international forums concerned with AML/CFT through its participation in the events and working papers, its permanent membership in the MENAFATF and its membership in the FATF as an observer, which are important channels through which Saudi Arabia shares its experiences with other countries. Saudi Arabia also contributes to the support of these entities with human and financial resources.
I would like to seize this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to the members and secretariat of the AMLPC for their efforts to demonstrate and prove Saudi Arabia's commitment to compliance with international requirements and standards and to strengthen the position of Saudi Arabia as well as its efforts and actions to support the international community in combating these crimes. Due to the serious effects of ML crime on the economy, SAMA from time to time issues instructions and makes amendments to some of its rules and regulations to be in conformity with international updated standards and requirements. In this regard, I would like to stress that it is important for relevant Saudi authorities to adhere to AML/CFT rules, standards and instructions; adopt relevant policies and procedures; and promote the risk-based approach that aims to better understand and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities. I also emphasize the need to make greater use of human and financial resources so as to be more effective in detecting, preventing and controlling operations and reporting suspicious activities and safeguard financial institutions and DNFBPs against exploitation for illegal operations.
Saudi Arabia was granted observer status in the FATF in June 2015 due to its high commitment to AML/CFT and strength of the actions carried out by the Saudi AML authorities. To the end of achieving a permanent membership in the FATF, the AMLPC, which comprises a number of concerned authorities, has implemented an action plan with important steps to improve the legislative environment and enhance the effectiveness of AML measures. The AMLPC has been reformulating certain provisions of the AML Law which are expected to be issued soon. Competent authorities in Saudi Arabia, including SAMA, have introduced a number of measures, at both regulatory and procedural levels, to be in conformity with the international community's requirements, international treaties, Security Council resolutions and the 2012 FATF Forty Recommendations, taking into account other developed countries' experience in this regard, the best practices for the application of international standards and requirements and latest approaches for effective implementation of AML legal and regulatory measures. The AMLPC also seeks to finalize the national risk assessment, through which risk sources and degrees will be identified to direct resources towards the most vulnerable areas and ensure the development of measures that commensurate with the degree of risk. These efforts and actions are part of Saudi Arabia's readiness for mutual evaluation, which has started early this year and is expected to continue until mid-2018. I would like to seize this opportunity to urge all colleagues, members and the secretariat of the AMLPC to continue their efforts to achieve the goals that we all seek to achieve.
In conclusion, this seminar is full of critical and useful topics that will be presented by a distinguished group of experts and specialists in this field. I believe that this event will allow participants to share experiences, learn the best practices and enhance their capabilities, which will positively affect our efforts in the compliance and fight against money laundering.
Once again, welcome, and thank you for your listening, wishing all success.