Speech by H.E. Governor of SAMA, Chairman of AMLPC, Dr. Ahmed A. Alkholifey at THE 9TH COMPLIANCE AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SEMINAR
Institute of Finance - SAMA
15-16 May 2017
Your Excellencies, 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 participation. 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 annual event, the topics of which have drawn attention of regulators and financial and non-financial institutions, in light of ICT revolution and its impact on financial markets, especially in terms of 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 strategic partner in this annual gathering, and we look 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.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As it is known to everyone, AML 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 crimes, as they do 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, places 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.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The AMLPC represents, and promotes the role of, Saudi Arabia in regional and international forums concerned with AML/CFT through participating in the events and working papers, weather through its permanent membership in the MENAFATF, or 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 theses 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, in its regulatory and supervisory role, issues from time to time instructions and makes amendments to some of its regulations and rules so as to be in compliance with international updated standards and requirements. In this regard, I would like to stress the need to adhere to AML/CFT rules, standards and instructions, and to adopt a risk-based approach that aims to better understand and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities. The risk-based approach would 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, subsequently, 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 AML/CFT commitment and actions carried out by the Saudi authorities. To the end of achieving a full membership in the FATF, the AMLPC, which comprises a number of concerned authorities, has prepared an action plan with important steps to improve the legislative environment and enhance the effectiveness of AML measures. The AMLPC is now reformulating certain provisions of the AML Law and they are expected to be issued soon. Competent authorities in Saudi Arabia, including SAMA, have introduced a number of measures, at both regulatory and procedurally levels, to be in compliance 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, by 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 Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee to continue their efforts to achieve the goals that we all seek to achieve.
In conclusion, this seminar is full of vital 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 compliance and combating money laundering.
Once again, welcome, and thank you for your listening, wishing all success.