Each year, European compliance officers are more positive about change than the year before.
If 2020 has been any indication of what can be expected, it’s a range of problems are still waiting to be addressed and new risks arising.
Top focus points for Europe include fraud, cyber-security, and data protection. The industry continues to grow and change with new issues arising and old problems still not resolved.
Here are some of the top focus points and compliance challenges Europe faces in 2021.
The primary goal is to address the weaknesses within the industry which includes the lack of applicable rules, inadequate cooperation among authorities, and weak risk-based approaches.
The action plan is to build on the existing six pillars, run a single EU rule books and get all to EU-level supervision.
The effective implementation of current rules
The EU Commission will continue monitoring member states checking if national rules are in line with EU rules. The commission is also encouraging the European Banking Authority (EBA) to go full steam ahead in its fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Single EU Rulebook
The fact of the matter is that the current EU rules are ‘far-reaching’ but still highly effective. With most Member States choosing to apply them in a variety of ways including adding different interpretations which can lead to loopholes exploited by criminals.
In order to combat this, the Commission is dedicated to creating one set of rules for all to follow. The objective is to have this finalised by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.
As things are now, each Member State individually supervises EU rules within their area resulting in various gaps. The commission plans to set up an EU-level supervisor who will become active within 2021. This allows for fewer gaps and smooth supervision across all Member States.
Support for Financial Intelligence Units
From the start of 2021, the European Commission is looking to establish an EU mechanism that will help enhance co-operation, support and coordination between financial intelligence units.
The main reason being that crime is increasing due to the uptake of digital activity. Financial Intelligence Units in Member States are responsible for identifying transactions and activities that could be linked to criminal activities.
The idea is to create a mechanism that will further their efforts to lessen crimes within each Member State.
Better Use of Info to Enforce Criminal Law
Information exchange and proper judicial/police cooperation is extremely important to combating Anti-Money Laundering and other security issues within the industry.
That being said, the private sector also plays some part in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
To increase efforts on safety, the commission will issue guidance on public-private partnerships that will clarify and enhance data sharing.
A Stronger EU
The EU is very active with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and any field where it can chop and change international standards on money laundering and terrorist financing.
In 2021, the Commission is determined to step up even more with the hope of being able to act as a single global actor within the area. One focus point will be adjusting the approach to third-world countries where there are strategic deficiencies in counter-terrorist finances and anti-money laundering that can pose a threat to the EU market.
All these measures are created and put in place to remove any weak links and loopholes from current EU anti-money laundering rules.