In the aftermath of several money laundering cases, in 2021 the European Commission has presented a large package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU's anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. The package also includes the proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. The measures take into account new and emerging challenges linked to technological innovation. These include virtual currencies, more integrated financial flows in the Single Market and the global nature of terrorist organisations.
Since the creation of the Internal Market and the breaking down of barriers, anti-money laundering rules must be implemented throughout the whole territory of the European Union in order to be efficient. Otherwise, criminals and money launderers could benefit from loopholes between Member States’ legislation, while taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internal Market. This could also undermine integrity and confidence in the financial system. Therefore, comprehensive European legislation has been adopted to protect the financial system but also other vulnerable professions and activities from being misused for money laundering or other financial crime purposes.
The EAPB and its members are fully committed to the fight against financial crime. During the past decade, the European financial industry has invested considerable resources in measures to support the combat of terrorism financing and more generally the prevention of financial crime. Financial institutions have special dedicated staffs (e.g. Compliance or Anti-Money Laundering Officers) that ensure that all business units are well trained to recognise risks of financial crime. Suspicious transactions are flagged and brought to the attention of public authorities which may use such financial information in their investigations on criminal activities. The European financial sector spends about €100 billion on compliance annually and about 10% of banks’ staff are dedicated to compliance tasks. Millions of STRs and SARs are filed by banks to FIUs annually, but barely 1% of the cases are prosecuted. EAPB - including via its role as Secretariat of the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) Working Group on Anti-Money Laundering- is providing input to European and International regulators such a the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to make the fight against financial crime more efficient and cost-effective.
The latest input provided to regulators is available here.