The Nevis Financial Services Regulatory Commission – Nevis Branch held its 14th Annual Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference on March 11th and 12th, 2019 at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis. The event was held under the theme “Conquering the Compliance Divide: Effective vs. Defective – Bridging the Gap in Today’s Regulatory Environment”
The Conference commenced on March 11th with the Opening Ceremony which was chaired by Mr. Conrad Smithen Sr. who invoked God’s blessings on the day’s proceedings. Mr. Smithen is currently employed with a regulated entity and has spent the last thirty (30) years working in the Financial Services Industry.
Welcoming Remarks were given by the Regulator, FSRC – Nevis Branch, Ms. Heidi-Lynn Sutton, who highlighted the “unique challenges we face as we try to stay compliant and responsive to the myriad of complex and sometimes inconsistent application of initiatives that have been specifically designed to destroy our financial services sector.” Ms. Sutton also stressed that this year’s Conference will “focus on achieving effectiveness in AML/CFT compliance” especially as “we are now preparing for the 4th round Mutual Evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force which will take place during the 1st Quarter 2020.”
Mr. Colin Dore, Deputy Chairman, Financial Services Regulatory Commission also delivered brief remarks. Mr. Dore noted that “there is no doubt that this sector is critically important to the economic development of our country. Therefore as a regulatory agency we are committed to continue to take steps to expose registered agents and staff to AML/CFT training at the highest level as we seek to enhance the capabilities of the practitioners in this financial space.”
The Hon. Mark A.G. Brantley, Premier and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration, delivered brief remarks via video, he apologized for his absence. In his speech he spoke on the largely compliant ratings earned from the OECD in 2014 and 2018. “We know that the cost of compliance for our private sector practitioners is high and we value their commitment to stand alongside us in our determined efforts to attain and maintain favourable ratings from both the FATF and the OECD.” He also stated that, “We recognize and accept that regulatory compliance is an essential element for the viability and sustainability of the financial services sector and we value the good reputation that we have gained through the diligent work of our Regulators in this regard.”
This year’s conference was facilitated by Mr. Robert Mazur, President of KYC Solutions, Inc., a firm that provides speaking, expert witness and consulting services to companies worldwide. Mr. Mazur is certified in both U.S. and Canadian courts as an expert in money laundering.
- Ms. Avelon Perry, Director of the Compliance and Outreach Division of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (FIUTT), presented on the topics “Achieving Effectiveness in Counter Financing of Terrorism – the Trinidad and Tobago Approach” and “Identifying Suspicious Transactions related to Terrorist Financing;”
- Mrs. Joanne Daniel, Financial Advisor of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), presented on “Assessing AML/CFT Effectiveness in the context of your jurisdiction and your Institution’s Operations” and “The Importance of Beneficial Ownership Information in the AML/CFT Framework and Unmasking / Detecting the Benefactors and Beneficiaries in ML/TF Schemes;” and
- Ms. Kisha Sutherland and Mr. Donald Sheckle, Financial Investigations Advisors at the Regional Security System Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU) who presented on the topics “Achieving Effectiveness through Strategic and Proactive Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery Orders” and “A Case Study on Confiscation and Lessons Learnt.”
This year, the FSRC – Nevis Branch was pleased to partner with OPES Software and Nevis Co-operative Credit Union, who came on board as silver and bronze sponsors, respectively. OPES Software was represented by Mr. Fabrice Zambito, CEO and Chief Compliance Officer, who made a short presentation outlining the functionality of the software and its benefits in providing compliance related solutions for banks and financial services institutions.
Monday’s presentations were capped off by our inaugural debate, which saw debaters from the legal and banking professions building clear and concise arguments on the moot “Profits versus Compliance: A Profitable Business and a Sound Compliance Program are not mutually exclusive.” The debaters were Rawlinson Isaac, Financial Consultant; Sherry-Ann Liburd-Charles, Dia Forrester, Adrian Scantlebury, Attorneys-at-Law practicing in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The FSRC – Nevis Branch expresses its thanks to all including our sponsors OPES Software and the Nevis Co-operative Credit Union for their generous contributions as well as our esteemed presenters who journeyed from afar to join us thus ensuring the success of this year’s Conference. The 207 registered attendees represented financial institutions, trust and corporate service providers, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance managers, attorneys, money services businesses, lending agencies, accounting firms, law enforcement agencies and government departments. This is indicative of the high level of training that the FSRC – Nevis Branch is providing to the financial services industry. It is the intent of the FSRC- Nevis Branch to continue to fulfil its mandate by providing relevant information to regulated entities that would assist our jurisdiction in remaining compliant with international standards. We look forward to next year’s event.