This week, Executive Vice President John Byrne, and Creative Director Elliot Berman of the AML RightSource staff talk about the recent Plenary held by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). John and Elliot discuss how FATF is moving its work forward during the pandemic and the progress being made on the organization's strategic initiatives.
The Latest From the FATF October Plenary Transcript
Elliot Berman: Hey, John, how are you this week?
John Byrne: Hi, Elliot. How are you doing?
Elliot Berman: I'm good. I'm good. I saw this week that there was the fall plenary at FATF was finished up and they reported out on it, and as you know, we did a webinar about the June plenary back in August - you can find some of that material on our website, but did you see the report out of the plenary?
John Byrne: Yeah, and we, as we always try to tell our community and they don't need us to tell them, but, FATF does three plenaries a year and there's a lot of valuable information that comes out, during these, whether they are reports, working groups, various initiatives and obviously mutual evaluations.
I think this one similar in a way to the one in June is sort of under the pandemic response, right? So as we're all dealing with COVID-19 FATF, which prides itself on these plenaries with a lot of interaction with various governments and all the representatives has to do these things virtually.
So the outcomes, reflect that. And other the part of it that I would just highlight real quick is this is the first plenary of the new FATF president from Germany, Marcus Pleyer, and this is the first time the presidency will be a two-year presidency.
So that'll give, each new president, the opportunity to craft his or her, uh, strategy over a longer period of time, which I think will be valuable both for the particular series of agendas, but also for FATF in general.
Elliot Berman: I agree with that. You know, if you're a president just of an organization just for one year, by the time you just about figured out how it works, you're handing over the gavel to your successor. So, two years, could allow FATF to be even more effective in pushing through its initiatives.
One of the threads that's clearly in here, and you mentioned it already is the fact that, a lot of the activity is, needs to be done virtually and one of the strategic initiatives that came out of the earlier plenary was strengthening the global network, which had a lot to do with, completing, mutual evaluations and that kind of thing. And it's clear from this report that they're trying to figure out how to do something that has a heavy on the ground component, in a totally virtual way so that these things can keep going forward, as opposed to just being halted until such time as people are traveling and meeting in person again.
John Byrne: Right. And they also sort of updated the May statement that they issued on making sure that the AML community is as diligent and focused as possible on unfortunately, new frauds, and illicit activity that occurred during a pandemic. So this sort of updates those couple of statements that they talk about in the document is that you have to be active in identifying and assessing the terrorists and criminals will exploit the pandemic - sort of reiterating what they said back then, but also talking about age old issues that, are important to us - the effective sharing of information between the public and private sector through various partnerships becomes even more important now because we're not having that in-person interaction.
So, a number of things there, nothing earth shattering in these series of statements, but certainly just reminding us as our local law enforcement reminds us all the time to stay vigilant. And just remember that, as I said, criminals and terrorists and others, unfortunately take advantage of these actions, these events, and it just becomes pretty important to just be more aware than perhaps in normal times.
Elliot Berman: Yes. They also mentioned that they continue to be working on new guidance related to financing, risk assessment and mitigation related to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
And that's been an ongoing FATF focus for quite some time. But they didn't put a timeframe around when that new guidance would come out, but they did reaffirm that is in the works.
John Byrne: Yeah. Last thing I'd mentioned is they put together a lot of working groups as always. They referenced that in November, there'll be a joint experts meeting held virtually, and that will be one dealing with various operational issues and it will include FATF, the UN, the world bank, IMF, and they'll deal with a variety of issues as they do on a regular basis. So I think it's important, that when that activity happens and the outcomes of that occur, that we would take a look at that as how it impacts if at all, our own jurisdictions and our own issues that we deal with.
Elliot Berman: Right well, thanks, John, I will, talk to you next week. You be safe between now and then, okay? And be sure to vote.
John Byrne: Be safe and everybody vote. We got one more week. Take care.
Elliot Berman: Bye bye.