What is Moneyval?
MONEYVAL is a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe entrusted with the task of assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism and the effectiveness of their implementation, as well as with the task of making recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. Through a dynamic process of mutual evaluations, peer review and regular follow-up of its reports, MONEYVAL aims to improve the capacities of national authorities to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism more effectively.
MONEYVAL reports examine the efficiency of measures taken to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the legislative, financial regulatory, law enforcement and judicial sectors, with recommendations made to improve the domestic system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Moneyval’s most recent findings in Guernsey
In January 2016, Moneyval issued a report on its assessment of the Bailiwick’s anti-money laundering and countering the finance of terrorism (AML/CFT) controls. The report confirmed that the jurisdiction had made substantial progress in its compliance with increasing regulatory standards and was “largely compliant” with international money laundering guidelines. Overall Guernsey performed very well in the 2016 Moneyval onsite visit and the report reflected this. However, Moneyval also found that “the relatively limited number of cases involving third party [money laundering] by participants of the financial industry and the amounts of property laundered and confiscated. indicates room for more effective application of [money laundering] provisions”. This in laymans terms translates as the regulator has not demonstrated a sufficient number of enforcement actions and prosecutions within industry for non-compliance or deficiencies.
The result of these findings saw an increased effort in the regulator’s approach to enforcement with new guidance issued soon afterwards which included a commitment to a risk based approach to supervision. Several notable enforcement cases ensued in order to address the Moneyval perceived deficiency in enforcement cases, which have been closely followed by industry.
The GFSC’s post-2016 public statements demonstrate an increase in the frequency and severity of sanctions along with increased maximum financial penalties being available to the regulator. Whilst failings have been identified by the GFSC at certain firms, most have not resulted in financial crime offences, which serves to demonstrate that sanctions are to be expected even where financial crime has not occurred.
It is expected that enforcement activity will continue to increase in order to demonstrate that Guernsey has a commitment to regulation in accordance with developing international standards.
Moneyval return to Guernsey for its next evaluation round in 2023/2024
In February 2021 Kevin Davis was appointed as the Director of Economic Crime & Money Laundering to provide “strategic and operational leadership” ahead of Guernsey’s forthcoming MONEYVAL inspection.
He has been called upon to apply his extensive experience in combatting serious, complex economic crime, having previously led UK enforcement teams in delivering significant successful prosecutions.
It is hoped that Kevin’s extensive experience will assist in ensuring Guernsey is prepared to achieve a positive outcome from the forthcoming Moneyval assessement.
For those who are keen to know more about the Moneyval assessment, GAT and STEP Guernsey are holding an event presented by Richard Walker, Director of Financial Crime Policy at the States of Guernsey which will address what to expect from the upcoming Moneyval visit.