AML Colleges, multi-skilled teams, the ‘game changer’ strategy being taken on by European Banking Authority to tackle money laundering and terror financing across the EU

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

THE AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR regulating banks across Europe now has its own dedicated AML/CFT unit, and its acting chief has said that it signals how seriously her organisation is taking the fight against financial crime.   

On 1st June, the European Banking Authority (EBA) launched the unit after months of build-up.    

Acting head Carolin Gardner – Senior EBA Policy Expert for Innovation, Conducts and Consumers – will oversee its efforts to fulfil a mandate handed down by EU legislation in January 2020.   

“We’ve been building up a team over the last year, and now it has come into its own,” she said in an exclusive interview with AMLintelligence. She stressed that the formation of the unit reflected “the importance that the EBA affords to AML/CFT.”  

She described the new unit as small, but a mix of various skillsets and backgrounds. About half of the team used to work for competent authorities. Others come with law enforcement, research and private sector experience. 

The development comes alongside news that EBA is pushing ahead with ambitious plans for its system of AML ‘colleges’ – some of which are already up and running. 

Anti-money laundering ‘colleges’ – which are essentially networks of supervisors – have seen great success since their implementation, and now there are plans to increase their numbers substantially in the next year.   

“I would say it’s a game-changer,” she said.   WHAT IS AN AML/CFT COLLEGE? 

“Based on what we have observed already – and we are members of colleges, so we see first-hand what’s going on in those colleges – it’s a very tangible difference that they make in terms of AML/CFT supervision.”  

Meanwhile on the wider scene, it’s all eyes on the European Commission ahead of an official anouncement expected in July. 

Commissioner Mairead McGuinness is expected to unveil a thorough roadmap of Europe’s AML future, including the long-discussed single rulebook and supervisor – a huge departure from the member state-based systems of before. 

So far, the Commission is approaching these plans largely in line with what the EBA had hoped for, Gardner suggested.   

Commissioner McGuinness has already revealed several key details about how those plans will look, chief among them the commitment that the EU-level supervisor would work alongside national authorities rather than replacing them.  

And this idea seems to be going down well with the EBA, with Gardner summarising it as a “very sensible proposal.”

p/o Virginie Gastine Menou


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