By Olga Rosca
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, or ACAMS, have joined forces to safeguard the banking and trade-finance sectors in eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Research shows that many banks in the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme find it increasingly difficult to obtain trade-finance facilities from foreign commercial banks, due in part to anti-financial crime (AFC) compliance hurdles and costs.
To address this, the partners have launched the ACAMS Eurasia Chapter to support compliance professionals in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova and Ukraine. The chapter will serve as a platform for networking, collaborative initiatives, training and the sharing of knowledge and best practices to address regional risks and regulatory concerns. It will complement other professional education and peer networking efforts for compliance professionals in the region.
EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Matteo Patrone said: “Strong compliance controls have become a requirement for access to foreign financing and correspondent banking relationships that are critical to cross-border trade. Our work to date with ACAMS has already resulted in significant strides towards mitigating Eurasian banks’ exposure to trade-based money laundering and other forms of illicit finance, and we are pleased to build on that progress by opening up compliance training to institutions throughout the region.”
ACAMS President and Managing Director Scott Liles added: “Our partnership with the EBRD over the last year has made one thing clear about compliance professionals in the region: they are eager to put in the hard work it takes to shield Eurasia’s institutions from money launderers and other illicit actors. It was this enthusiasm that led us to the next step of launching what is truly a one-of-kind addition to the ACAMS family, and we’re confident the Eurasian chapter will only grow in the months and years ahead as members see what can come of ongoing training and close collaborations in the AFC sector.”
The new initiative builds on an agreement between the two institutions to train bankers at EBRD partner financial institutions on compliance strategies to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, sanctions evasion, fraud and other financial crimes.
To date, 70 compliance professionals in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have received scholarships to obtain Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certification, the global benchmark for excellence in financial crime prevention. The EBRD scholarships were funded by the European Union.