Karachi        -      Inaugurating the conference on Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/ Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML) here on Monday, Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank, stated that significant progress had been made between May and September 2019 on meeting the action plan items set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in different areas to demonstrate effectiveness of AML safety regime of Pakistan.

“There was a major rethink of the approach being taken by the authorities in early to mid 2019. Consequently, a number of steps were taken to significantly strengthen our approach to making progress on these issues,” the governor said. He however, stressed the need for putting in more efforts to make progress on remaining areas to ensure that Pakistan was out of grey list in the next meeting of FATF.

He was speaking at the conference organized by SBP and Asian Development Bank here at SBP.

Speaking at the conference, the governor informed the audience that since the grey-listing, State Bank had arranged many AML/CFT outreach and awareness programmes for its regulated entities and stakeholders and that the conference was a useful platform to understand the AML/CFT challenges being faced globally and the best practices followed in mitigating such challenges.

In the context of implementing AML/CFT requirements, the governor urged the financial sector to make efficient use of technologies for assessment of risks, controls and ongoing monitoring of financial transactions and enhance capacity by continuous training of their employees.

Dr. Baqir emphasised that trade-based money laundering poses complex and sophisticated challenges and that SBP inspection teams conducted thematic inspections of banks with respect to export and import of specific goods.

He also referred to State Bank’s framework for managing risks of trade based money laundering and terrorist financing which has been issued to encourage authorized dealers (banks) to effectively manage the trade based money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

Ms. Xiohang Yang, ADB country director, and Mohsin Ali Nathani, President & CEO Habib Metro Bank, also spoke on the occasion.

Ms. Yang stated that ‘AML/CFT is a critical issue for trade finance, which is why ADB’s Trade Finance Program is playing an increasing role in this space. She stated that ADB has a strong commitment to work with Pakistan’s banking sector and the SBP on this issue.

Ms. Yang further stated that the FATF has identified enhanced capacity building/training in AML/CFT as an immediate priority requirement and they are pleased to partner with the SBP and thankful to Habib Metro Bank for organizing the same.

Mohsin Ali Nathani, President & CEO Habib Metro Bank while addressing the conference added, ‘Enhancement of AML & CFT efforts through increased awareness and strengthened systems, controls and processes is imperative for our country and the banking sector. Habib Metro Bank is pleased to organise this conference and bring together relevant stakeholders from the region, regulator and banking sector to re-affirm our collective commitment to mitigating the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing.’

During the conference several prominent speakers and panelists discussed the requisites and obligations with regard to AML and CFT, including Terrorism Financing Risk Assessments, Transnational Risks in Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML), risks posed by DNFBPs & NPOs and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership.

The conference also included a detailed discussion on the impact of Trade Based Money Laundering and the repercussions of the same for the banking sector especially in the context of grey listing.

The conference was organised by Habib Metro Bank and attended by the Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Country Head Asian Development Bank and international experts in the field of AML/ CFT and trade from the United States, Australia and UAE. Participants included CEOs and senior management of Banks, DFIs, Microfinance Banks and Exchange Companies and representatives from the SBP, Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).