Image above: The opening speeches. In front from left: FATF Vice President Vladimir Nechaev, FATF Executive Secretary Rick McDonell, FATF President Bjørn Skogstad Aamo and Minister of Finance Sigbjørn Johnsen. Photo: Tor Martin Bærum/Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Minister, Dear Sigbjørn, Dear colleagues
I thank the Minister for his nice words of welcome.
It is a pleasure and an honor to welcome you all to Oslo and the third plenary of the 24th year of FATF work.
A special welcome to the many representatives from our associate members of the FSRBs, who have travelled a long way to reach this Northern part of Europe. I have visited key meetings of six of the FSRBs and Vladimir Nechaev, the Vice President visited the remaining two. We have seen a high spirit and willingness to take part in the tasks of FATF. The constructive work of the GNCG and a positive meeting with the FSRB-presidents yesterday all point to further strengthening of our Global Network. The continued close cooperation with the UN, the IMF and the World Bank remains an integral part of this network.
This year will show progress in many areas of FATF-work. The follow -up reports and the regular scrutiny of countries with serious deficiencies by the ICRG,- show that a substantial number of countries are improving their performance and implementing the FATF-standards in a more satisfactory way.
We passed an important milestone when the Plenary in February reached agreement on the new Methodology, underlining that effectiveness shall be as important as technical compliance when we evaluate countries based on the revised standards.
Further preparations for the 4th Round of Mutual Evaluations are key items of our agenda for this plenary. I look forward to the report of the working -group, WGEI on these issues.
Financial Inclusion is high on the agenda of the FATF. In February we completed a revised version of the FATF guidance on Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Measures and Financial Inclusion. Financial Inclusion is a goal of high priority for the United Nations development efforts. As FATF we know that it is more difficult to detect and fight Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in a cash based economy, than in a well-regulated financial market.
As President, on behalf of FATF, I have thus invited the United Nations Secretary General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to give an Address to the Plenary: Strengthening Financial Integrity through Financial Inclusion.
A topical issue will be a report by the UK as chair of the recent G8-Summit which discussed beneficial ownership and other issues related to our work. It is of great value to the FATF to receive a first hand report, as press reports may not give a full and true picture of what happened and what was agreed upon.
The working Group on Typology, WGTYP will report on several research projects. – As we know, the group earlier this year completed a mapping exercise on how countries have practiced tax crime as a predicate offence for Anti Money Laundering measures. The experience gained is of particular value to countries who need to adapt legislation in accordance with the new standards. At this meeting there were also case studies on tax crime as a predicate offence for AML-measures.
Another working group, WGTM will report and suggest adoption of Guidance or Best Practice-papers on new payment methods, which is also linked to financial inclusion. There will be documents on Politically Exposed Persons and the possible abuse of NPOs.
We will have an update on our work related to corruption. The FATF-system for reporting of Suspicious Transactions remains of key importance in detecting and fighting corruption.
We will also discuss important internal organizational issues, on how we should further strengthen and develop the FATF.
In the FATF tradition, and as a key part of the Objectives for the Norwegian Presidency, we have had broad contacts and consultations with the private sector and civil society.
Since our plenary in February in Paris, we had a meeting of the Consultative Forum in London on 25 and 26 April, which was very well attended. Besides providing update on the FATF preparation of the 4th Round of mutual evaluations, we discussed data protection, beneficial ownership, applications of the Risk-Based Approach, New Payment Products and Politically Exposed Persons.
The Consultative Forum also had a general discussion on the cooperation between the FATF and the private sector. Among the observations made was the need to include supervisors in the dialogue, as they both in financial and other sectors provide regulations and guidance. We should make an effort to better coordinate their activity, with FATF recommendations and guidelines.
In March the leadership of FATF and the Co-chairs of WGEI had informal discussions with the Wolfsberg group. In April we had a similar informal meeting with banks belonging to the International Banking Federation. The challenges of compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Recommendations in large financial institutions were key elements of these discussions.
On 24 April FATF had a first organized dialogue meeting with representatives of NPOs (Non-Profit Organizations). Some 20 NPOs took part in the meeting. The aim of this meeting was to stress the importance of ensuring that FATF Recommendation 8 on NPOs is not being implemented in a manner that disrupts or discourages legitimate charitable activity. We received inputs for the update of the Best Practices Paper and for the typology project that is about to start.
On 14 May we had a productive Consultation with the Legal professions on the FATF Typology project on the ML/TF vulnerabilities of legal professionals. The meeting was hosted by the Law Society of England and Wales and we received inputs for the report we hope to adopt at this meeting.
I look forward to a productive plenary meeting, and once again welcome you all to Oslo!