OPENING REMARKS BY SEN. THE HON. ALLYSON MAYNARD GIBSON
ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
BAHAMAS ASSOCIATION OF COMPLIANCE OFFICERS
(BACO) 11TH ANNUAL
MONEY LAUNDERING REPORTING OFFICER (MLRO) DAY 2012
THEME: “COMPLYING IN CHALLENGING TIMES WHILST FACING A NEW COMPLIANCE ERA – GETTING IT RIGHT”
In Celebration of BACO’s 11th Annual MLRO Day
To the CCP (“Certified Compliance Professional”) Members of BACO, to the general membership, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the Attorney General for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas I am indeed pleased to congratulate you all for the tremendous standards that you are upholding and continue to set.
Indeed, the Government of The Bahamas is pleased to acknowledge the sterling work of BACO over the past 13 years. You have proven yourselves to be dedicated professionals who make a significant contribution in ensuring that institutions doing business in The Bahamas are in compliance with the laws of The Bahamas and, as professionals, you are firm in your resolve to perform well and to communicate our AML and CFT positions.
The Government particularly recognizes and appreciates the role of BACO in strengthening the reputation of The Bahamas as a Blue Chip and well regulated jurisdiction. Please do not underestimate the importance of your continuing education efforts in and outside of your profession.
As we are all aware, training in AML detection and prevention is now statutorily mandated for all financial institutions. This obligation is due in part to the reputational risks which the jurisdiction faces from potential money laundering abuses, over and above the primary business considerations.
Proper training provides a competitive advantage and introduces safeguards against reputational and other business risks for financial institutions. Adequate budgetary provisions must be made for training programmes, including meeting the need for ongoing training as is statutorily required. Providing minimal training for employees has been likened to giving a brand new sports car to an inexperienced driver. It is dangerous for the driver and others who use the streets
The MLRO is one of the most important officials in an organization. The MLRO function is tied to that of the Compliance function in that the role of the MLRO is critical to achieving effective compliance. In The Bahamas the Compliance Officer is expected to be of a sufficient seniority so as to command the respect of the Board of Directors. In the UK and other nations with similar legislation, it remains the requirement for the Compliance Officer to have direct and unrestricted access at all times to the Board or the Committee of the Board. This view is also supported by the Basel Committee’s consultative paper on The Compliance function in Banks. I would welcome the opportunity to assist you in your move towards implementation of this status, across the Board, in The Bahamas. And in the needed training and retraining of Bahamians in this area, so critical to the second pillar of our economy.
As a blue chip and well regulated jurisdiction, I see ever professional standards as essential to maintaining our luster. They do not put us at a competitive disadvantage. Rather, they let the world know that as a blue chip and well regulated jurisdiction, we take seriously our obligations including embracing ever improving professional standards.
I want publicly to acknowledge and compliment BACO for its professionalism, and its commitment to the highest standards of conduct. BACO has from day one made it a top priority to enhance the integrity of the second pillar of the Bahamian economy. BACO is highly regarded as a leader and pacesetter in the region by sister compliance associations and governments.
It is also recognized regionally that your association is an organization that is innovative, action-oriented, efficient and effective. BACO is the founding compliance association of the CRCA (Caribbean Regional Compliance Association) and the 1st meeting of this regional and international compliance association was held here in The Bahamas in 2004. We are grateful for BACO’s wider collaborative efforts. I welcome the opportunity to work with you again from where I now sit and pledge to you my support and the support of the entire OAG.
Well deserved congratulations are due to BACO for your pioneering approach to focused and consistent attention to AML training and the maintenance of international AML standards I am certain that today’s MLRO day will be of tremendous future benefit to your skills toolbox.”