Kristian Walton, group risk and compliance director at Elian, believes the Moneyval report will help Jersey to set itself apart from competitors.

July 11, 2016

Kristian Walton (large colour)

 

This article was originally published in Business Brief July 2016 edition.

Those of us in Jersey’s finance industry have eagerly awaited the Moneyval report. It was therefore very encouraging to read through the report’s findings and summaries, which reiterated that Jersey has a “mature and sophisticated regime for tackling money laundering and the financing of terrorism”. It also confirmed that Jersey is a well regulated and controlled jurisdiction for preventing money laundering and countering of finance for terrorism purposes.

To have achieved 48 findings of Compliant or Largely Compliant out of the 49 FATF recommendations is a great accomplishment. It is also a strong testament to all the hard work that the States of Jersey, Jersey Financial Services Commission and the Jersey financial services industry as a whole, led by Jersey Finance, have put into preparing and undertaking the work with Moneyval. The report also reflects a strong endorsement of Jersey’s desire to position itself as a high quality, credible, secure and well regulated international finance centre – which is excellent news for the industry and, of course, our clients. Of equal significance, given the Panama Papers furore, is the report’s confirmation that Jersey is in a leading position in meeting the standards of beneficial ownership transparency.

I believe that those of us working in Jersey’s finance industry should feel an element of pride in the report’s findings and take the opportunity, wherever possible, to highlight to our clients and prospects that Jersey is at the forefront of compliance with these international standards. Moneyval’s glowing endorsement gives Jersey the opportunity to genuinely set itself apart from many of its competitors.

The report did note one area for improvement, highlighting the relatively low number of money laundering convictions and confiscations in Jersey considering the size and characteristics of the financial sector business conducted. Whilst I cannot say for certain whether the current levels are relatively low, I would say that the high standards applied here should actively discourage money launderers from considering coming to Jersey. In addition, there have been some notable convictions and confiscations already reported, and we should acknowledge that prosecuting such cases in the courts is complex and can take quite some time to complete. Given that the Chief Minister has committed further resource to support money laundering prosecutions, I think it is reasonable to expect to see an increase in the number of cases being brought to court.

The JFSC and the States of Jersey policy team will be assessing a number of recommendations in the report, and the Elian team look forward to participating in the consultative process that will form part of the assessment. Whilst the next Moneyval visit is not scheduled until 2021, the focus will be on the effectiveness of our anti-money laundering laws and regulations. The groundwork starts now to ensure Jersey continues to maintain its leading position in the effort to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and to uphold global transparency standards.