The CFATF works to implement counter-measures against money laundering and terrorism financing across the Caribbean.
What Is The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)?
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is an intergovernmental organization of 25 territories in and around the Caribbean collectively dedicated to implementing the AML and CFT measures outlined in the global Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations. The CFATF itself is an associate member of the FATF and was originally established after a series of meetings between regional state representatives in the early 1990s. Those meetings culminated in the 1992 Kingston Declaration in which the Caribbean states endorsed the creation of the CFATF with the goal of implementing the FATF recommendations.
The CFATF is led by its Council of Ministers, which is composed of one representative from each member-state – and was chaired in 2018-2019 by Dale Marshall, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs for Barbados. Working with the council is the CFATF Steering Group, an advisory committee, and the Secretariat, which handles technical and administrative functions. The CFTAF holds plenary sessions around the Caribbean at least twice a year, while its Secretariat, which coordinates strategy and implementation, is based in Trinidad and Tobago.
The principal objective of the CFATF is to aid the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing by ensuring Caribbean AML and CFT programs meet the standards set out by the FATF. The 40 Recommendations are built around the need for financial institutions to implement risk-based AML/CFT programs which include sufficient customer due diligence procedures and screen for international sanctions, adverse media, and politically exposed persons.
The CFATF does not issue AML/CFT standards itself but follows the FATF in its approach to monitoring, supervision, and enforcement. That approach involves four components:
- Mutual Evaluations: CFATF member-states conduct mutual evaluations of their FATF compliance performance. Those evaluations are then issued as reports, available on the CFATF website.
- Follow Up Reports: After Mutual Evaluation Reports have been assessed, member-states issue Follow Up Reports which reflect the progress they have made in implementing the 40 Recommendations.
- Plenary Sessions: The CFATF holds plenary meeting sessions twice a year or more in locations around the Caribbean. The sessions feature discussions of deficiencies identified in Mutual Evaluation Reports, along with any AML/CFT issues relevant to member-states.
Training and Assistance: The CFATF’s Secretariat provides training and accreditation to help member-states better implement FATF standards and assess the performance of their domestic financial institutions. The CFATF may also act as a liaison between member-states and donors that are seeking to provide technical training.
In order to achieve its FATF AML/CFT objectives, the CFATF hosts a number of working groups dedicated to collecting and analyzing financial data, developing policy, and sharing information between member states. Those working groups include:
- The International Cooperation Review Group: The ICRG reviews issues related to international cooperation on AML/CFT issues and makes recommendations to the plenary meeting sessions.
- Working Group on FATF Issues: The WGFI is dedicated to engaging and following the lead of the FATF’s Evaluations and Compliance Group and its Policy Development Group.
- Working Group on Risks Trends and Methods: The RTMG facilitates the sharing of information relevant to AML/CFT efforts in the Caribbean Basin.
- Head of Financial Intelligence Units Forum: HoFIU is dedicated to enhancing information sharing between CFATF member-states and between CFATF and its international partners.
Accreditation Council: The AC is tasked with designing a suitable curriculum for the training and accreditation of investigators, analysts, and supervisors at CFATF financial intelligence units.