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Basel Committee publishes work programme and strategic priorities for 2021-22

21 April 2021
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The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has recently published its work programme for 2021-22. The work programme sets out the strategic priorities for the Committee over the coming year and reflects the outcome of a recent strategic review by the Committee to ensure that it continues to effectively promote global financial stability and strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management practices of banks worldwide.   Continue reading…

Professor Peter Zemsky: “The real challenge with technology is that it is just not possible for regulation to keep up with change”

20 April 2021
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On Wednesday, March 31, 2021 the Ethics in the Age of Digital Finance: Issues and Challenges event was held online, which was organised jointly by the Observatoire de la Finance (Geneva) and the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society (INSEAD). From online banking to contactless payments and cryptocurrencies, financial technology – or FinTech – is rapidly impacting the financial services industry and those who must supervise and use it. The webinar presented an invaluable opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion on how new technologies impact financial services and what the ethical opportunities and challenges are by the digitisation of finance. It also introduced the audience to the global Prize “Ethics & Trust in Finance for a Sustainable Future” that was initiated in 2006 by the Observatoire de la Finance. The Risk & Compliance Platform Europe also took part in this online event and covered it via its website. This is part one in a series of three articles on this webinar. Continue reading…

Dr. Liliya Gelemerova: “The ultimate goal of effective money laundering is to make it harder for crime money to be enjoyed by criminals and provide leads to underlying crime such as human trafficking, thus disrupting it”

16 April 2021
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by Michel Klompmaker

Economic crime costs more than £193bn per year. Tackling this complex problem requires an interdisciplinary perspective. A seminar series in economic crime invited those with expertise and interest in economic crime across faculties, departments, students and broader community to come together, share ideas, and engage in a collaborative work. This interdisciplinary initiative was organised by Dr. Branislav Hock, who is a Senior Lecturer in Economic Crime at the University of Portsmouth. The Economic Crime Seminar Series was held on March 24 2021 online, and was organised through the joint effort of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth Law School, Portsmouth Business School – the Department of Economics and Finance, and Portsmouth Business School – the Department of Accounting and Financial Management. Continue reading…

Action to counter Italian fuel tax fraud worth almost EUR 1 billion

14 April 2021

Eurojust has ensured the coordination of cross-border investigations at the request of the Italian authorities (Public Prosecutor’s Office of Reggio Calabria) concerning a massive fraud with fuel taxes worth about EUR 1 billion. The Agency enabled the freezing of bank accounts in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Malta and Romania. It also ensured the seizure of companies’ assets or the administrative closure of enterprises used for the fraud scheme, where possible. In a large-scale operation, 23 suspects were recently arrested in Italy and about EUR 600 million worth of assets were seized.  Continue reading…

The failure of ABN Amro and other systemic banks to control money laundering from the perspective of HVA International

13 April 2021
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by Miltiadis Gkouzouris

Following several fines imposed by national regulatory authorities on banks such as ING and ABN Amro, the systemic banks started a KYC-race (Know Your Customer) to investigate “suspicious” transactions by looking into the history of account holders and shareholders of companies, the private expenses and possessions of shareholders and even the backgrounds of company’s clients. In this race, the banks have hired hundreds of controllers, who are equipped with a very menacing weapon, namely that of being able to block a company’s corporate bank account or even terminate the relationship.
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ESMA advises on framework for data reporting service providers

12 April 2021
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The European Securities and Markets Authority, the EU’s securities markets regulator, recently published advice to the European Commission related to data reporting service providers (DRSP). The advice focuses on the fees, fines and penalties applicable to DRSPs subject to EU supervision as well as the criteria determining whether certain DRSPs may be exempted from ESMA supervision (derogation criteria). It aims to provide a simple and clear framework by leveraging on the existing frameworks for Trade Repositories and Securitisation Repositories and by streamlining the approach for the assessment of the derogation criteria. Following the ESAs’ Review, authorisation and supervision of authorised reporting mechanisms (ARMs) and approved publication arrangements (APAs) will transfer from competent authorities to ESMA. Continue reading…

Commission approves prolongation of market conform asset protection scheme for banks in Greece

11 April 2021
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The European Commission has approved the prolongation of an existing Greek scheme aiming at supporting the reduction of non-performing loans of Greek banks on the basis that it remains free of any State aid. The existing asset protection scheme (known by the name of ‘Hercules’), was approved by the Commission in October 2019, for an initial duration of 18 months. Greece notified the Commission of its plan to prolong the scheme for another 18 months, until October 2022.
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The European Court of Human Rights: Six principles for whistleblower protection

06 April 2021
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by František Nonnemann

European Union member states are obliged to transpose the Directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union into law by 17th December 2021. It will be the first general whistleblowing regulation in many member states and, therefore, relevant case law will be very important for interpretation. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently ruled over a whistleblowing case connected with the publication of the suspicions made by the employee. This decision sums-up six crucial principles for whistleblower protection, respectively for the whole whistleblowing process. The question of whether and when the whistleblower is obliged to use internal whistleblowing channels, and the obligation of the whistleblower to verify his/her suspicions as much as possible prior to the publication of the suspicious notice were examined. Continue reading…

FCA launches campaign to encourage individuals to report wrongdoing

05 April 2021

The campaign, ‘In confidence, with confidence’, encourages individuals working in financial services to report potential wrongdoing to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and reminds them of the confidentiality processes in place. As part of the campaign, the FCA has published materials for firms to share with employees, as well as using its events to highlight the campaign. It has also produced a digital toolkit for industry bodies, consumer groups and whistleblowing groups to encourage individuals to have confidence to step forward. Whistleblowers that report to the FCA will have a dedicated case manager. They can meet with the FCA to discuss their concerns and can receive optional regular updates throughout the investigation. Every report the FCA receives is reviewed and the FCA will protect individual whistleblowers’ identities.  Continue reading…

Shifting cybersecurity from a compliance to a risk focus

30 March 2021
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Modern organisations now realise that cybersecurity is a crucial concern. Cyberattacks have grown in frequency and sophistication, with 3,813 data breaches reported in the first half of 2019, which was an increase of 54% over the previous year. And in light of COVID-19-related changes in workforce structure and an unplanned shift to remote work environments that might not be supported with the right infrastructure, companies became even more vulnerable to attack in 2020. While enterprises know that cybersecurity protection is essential to safeguard their companies, many envision cybersecurity protocols as a compliance-focused approach to address industry and governmental regulations, rather than looking at them from a risk analysis level. Continue reading…