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UAE Central Bank issues new guidance on transaction monitoring and sanctions screening

Gulfbusiness.com logo Gulfbusiness.com 14/09/2021 Varun Godinho
a sign on the side of a building: UAE Central Bank © Motivate Publishing UAE Central Bank

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) on Monday issued a new guidance on transaction monitoring and sanctions screening for its licensed financial institutions (LFIs).

The guidance is effective as of Monday, September 13, and requires LFIs to demonstrate compliance with CBUAE’s requirements within a month.

The guidance says that LFIs are obliged to develop internal policies, controls, and procedures that are commensurate with the nature and size of their business that are approved by their senior management, to enable them manage their identified money laundering and financing of terrorism risks, according to state-run news agency WAM.

LFIs must also put in place indicators to identify suspicious transactions and activities in order to file report it to the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit.

Additionally, LFIs are obliged to regularly screen their databases and transactions against names on lists issued by the United Nations Security Council and its relevant Committees (UN Consolidated List) or by the UAE Cabinet (UAE Local Terrorist List) before conducting any transaction or entering into a business relationship with any client, whether it is an individual or corporate.

As stipulated in the guidance, LFIs should establish and maintain effective transaction monitoring and sanction screening programs consisting of a well-calibrated risk-based framework, training and awareness of their employees and active oversight by their board.

LFIs should also ensure the ongoing enhancement of their transaction monitoring and sanctions screening systems based on their risks. The systems, including the relating monitoring and screening models used should be subject to independent testing, validation, and auditing.

The guidance aims to promote the effective implementation by LFIs of their statutory anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations.

“As we continue to enhance the effectiveness of AML/CFT measures to safeguard the UAE financial system, we expect licensed financial institutions to fulfil their duties as well. This guidance serves as a key point of reference for licensed financial institutions to ensure their compliance with AML/CFT requirements,” said Khaled Mohamed Balama, governor of the CBUAE.

Also on Monday, the UAE published a list of 38 individuals and 15 entities on its approved list of persons and organisations supporting terrorism (Local Terrorist List). A resolution by the UAE Cabinet demanded that regulatory authorities monitor and identify any individuals or entities affiliated with or associated with any financial, commercial or technical relationship with the individuals or entities on the list. It also said that once identified, necessary action under the prevailing laws of the country, must be taken in under 24 hours.

Read: UAE places 38 individuals, including four Emiratis, on terror list

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