On Sunday, January 30, 2022, the 13th Annual Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering Forum was held under the patronage of His Excellency, the Governor of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and the Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC), Fahad Almubarak. The event was organized in a joint effort between SAMA, the AMLPC, and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), and it was attended by experts specialized in the field of compliance and anti-money laundering.
His Excellency Fahad Alshathri, deputy governor for Supervision, opened the forum welcoming participants and by shedding the light on the recent developments in the international standards and requirements applied to AML measures, in order to reinforce and enhance countries efforts in this regard and to raise awareness among employees about the necessity of adopting most updated guidelines and practices.
Alshathri pointed out that money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) crimes are among the most challenging problems faced by the international community and governments; due to the fact that ML and TF crimes have a direct negative impact on the stability of economic and financial systems and represent a threat to national peace and security. Consequently, the relevant international organizations are keen to set standards and adopt best practices that would support and enhance the efforts of countries in fighting these crimes, especially with the constant evolvement of new ML and TF methods and techniques, and the exploitation of new technology and services provided by financial institutions and DNFBFs by criminals and money launderers.
Alshathri affirmed that the Kingdom, given the importance of establishing joint international and regional efforts to combat ML and TF crimes, made sure to be one of the first countries to support and back-up the efforts of the international community in this regard. In this context, the Kingdom has ratified many international conventions that deal with this matter, and made sure to take all actions and measures necessary to guarantee the effective implementation of the international standards issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), including those which require regulatory and supervisory authorities to issue a set of instructions and guidelines to financial institutions ensuring that these requirement are properly met. The Kingdom also made sure to implement distinct supervision and control programs aiming to constantly follow-up on how effectively and accurately these instructions are being complied with.
On another note, Alshathri referred to the Kingdom's strong momentum towards advanced financial services such as development and expansion in the scope of innovative financial services and products that promote financial inclusion and significantly reduce overall dependence on cash. He further stressed that this expansion in the provision of financial services is likely to come with its fair share of inherent risks due to the nature and characteristics of modern technological systems, which will most probably impose a new set of challenges on financial institutions and Fintech companies, as well as on regulatory and supervisory bodies that will need to identify and address all potential loopholes and find ways to prevent them from being abused. This forum is organized to exchange knowledge and experience, and to learn about best practices and regulatory and technical experiences in the field of combating fraud and money laundering related to Fintech.