In 2018, money laundering scandals were never far from the headlines, especially in Europe. The Danske Bank scandal, for example, exposed the worrying levels of suspect wealth that flowed, unchecked through European banks in 2014/15. In the aftermath of this, 2019 looks likely to be a year when European authorities reassess their regulatory regimes, becoming more assertive with enforcement, and less lenient, when dealing with financial indiscretions.
Head of Financial Crime at ComplyAdvantage, Livia Benisty predicts that “the ECB will have to show it is looking at the issue of regulation and supervision given the wave of scandals through European banks. However, with the upcoming review likely to stop short of real legislative reform, the key output is likely to be beefing up supervision rather than anything more.”
One regulatory regime which will see considerable change in 2019 is that of the UK post-Brexit. The UK has committed to being a world leader in the fight against financial crime and has committed to delivering effective financial compliance and regulation. In 2018 we saw the enactment of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill which will give the UK power to introduce its own AML and sanctions legislation once it has left the Union. In 2019 we will see this put into practice along with the likely reforms to the country’s SARs regime.
Beyond Europe, the US will maintain its regulatory financial footing in 2019 – that is, sounding out the details of new FinTech regulation, including the need to promote innovation and customer protection, but it is unlikely to take any significant legislative steps towards drastically changing its AML regime.
Tip: Regulatory reform can be disruptive to your compliance practices during this year of likely change, stay abreast of the latest developments to make sure you don’t get caught short.