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Cayman off the FATF grey list

Front Pages 27 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Cayman off the FATF grey list

FATF Plenary 2023 - Andre Ebanks, Dawn Spicer, Samuel Bulgin

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced on Friday that they have taken the Cayman Islands off their grey list of countries that did not comply with the body’s anti money laundering (AML) requirements. This follows two years of what the Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce said was “sustained hard work and engagement, both locally and internationally.” This means that Cayman’s AML regime now meets the global standard.

Having satisfied the three action points demanded of Cayman by the FATF back in 2021, Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, André Ebanks, said:

“Team Cayman faced this challenge with faith, competence, and dedication. We had a shared determination to step out from under this shadow as soon as possible and today, we have done exactly that.”

The FATF announced the decision to delist the Cayman Islands following its 25-27 October plenary in Paris, which Minister Ebanks and the Attorney General Samuel Bulgin attended. Mr Bulgin chairs the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group, which oversees AML for the Cayman Islands.

He advised that the importance of the achievement could not be understated.

“FATF's decision confirms that our AML regime effectively deters, detects, arrests and prosecutes financial crimes in the Cayman Islands, and that it also supports other countries' efforts," he stated.

Minister Ebanks explained how AML effectiveness benefitted everyone, locally and globally.

“Compliance with the FATF standard helps protect all of us as we conduct everyday business, whether that's banking, purchasing local goods, or donating to charities,” he said.

The next challenge

The FATF's decision to delist the Cayman Islands completes Cayman’s participation in its 4th-round mutual evaluation process. The FATF will commence its 5th round process in 2025, with Cayman’s evaluation expected to begin in 2026. For this, Mr Bulgin said that Cayman was monitoring and anticipating changes to the FATF standard, to ensure that policies and legislation align; and monitoring changes to the FATF evaluation methodology, to assess how best to demonstrate the Cayman Islands' effectiveness in implementing the standard.

Lessons learned during the FATF's 4th round were guiding preparations for the 5th round, they said.

Mr Bulgin said Cayman had a stronger grasp on how to assess and incorporate international standards into its regime, and the inter-governmental approach locally had vastly improved the effectiveness in fighting financial crime, including internationally.

Minister Ebanks said the outcome confirmed Cayman’s reputation as a well-regulated jurisdiction in AML matters.

“We have demonstrated that we are a global partner in financial services. And with this tremendous achievement, the Cayman Islands is on the move, looking to bolster our commercial offerings for sound business, and our corresponding compliance regime," he said.

Premier Wayne Panton welcomed the news, saying it was the culmination of the tireless efforts, advocacy, and diplomacy from the Attorney General, Minister Ebanks, and countless public servants across various ministries, portfolios, law enforcement and regulatory bodies.

“Our financial services industry also gave their full cooperation, walking every step of this journey with us; and our public has been very supportive of our progress in meeting the FATF standard. We all are proud of this tremendous achievement, and its reinforcement of the sound reputation of the Cayman Islands,” the Premier said.

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