REGULATION: Half of EMEA firms think AML regulations need more clarity

As published on: portfolio-adviser.com, Wednesday 24 April, 2024. 

Almost 50% of firms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa reported that anti-money laundering regulations were not clear or lacked an address of modern systems, according to PwC’s latest EMEA AML report.

The financial institutions identified a ‘lack of regulatory uniformity’, finding AML staff, data management, and operating costs as some of the largest hindrances to the regulations.

About 20% of respondents voiced concern over a lack of uniformity in applying the regulations, which led to ambiguity within new transactions. The report noted that in the EU, the new AML package set to be released in coming years could help with these concerns.

Skilled staff was identified as the most prominent compliance issue, and 35% of respondents identified that staffing challenges kept them from implementing new digital tools.

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Marilin Pikaro, director of the innovation, conduct and consumers department at the European Banking Authority (EBA), said: “Sound AML/CFT governance arrangements, appropriate risk assessment practices, awareness of staff members and timely reporting processes are key to prevent and fight money laundering and terrorist financing.”

While 63% of interviewed firms said they were ‘fully confident’ in their transaction monitoring, 55% reported that the age of their current systems was a barrier for implementing new technology.

Imran Farooqi, EMEA anti-financial crime leader at PwC United Kingdom, said: “AML frameworks, policies and actions will be a cornerstone of any financial centre that wishes to be seen as a trusted financial hub. Regulatory frameworks have matured considerably over the last decade, however criminals have also been shown to adapt quickly.

“While the financial sector is demonstrably rising to the occasion and taking AML seriously, our research also captures the significant challenges firms still face. By understanding these challenges, policymakers and industry can better work together to build a more robust and future-proof AML ecosystem.”

Digital tools have started to find their footing amidst regulatory compliance, with over half of interviewed institutions expecting to spend at least 10% of their budget on technology. AI solutions are also catching interest, with 79% considering using AI for transaction monitoring and 59% for screening.


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