Recommendation 27 mandates that in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, countries should give supervisors proper and adequate powers to supervise or monitor financial institutions. This power should extend to the ability to conduct inspections.
Supervisors should be able to compel the production of information from financial institutions which will aid in assessing their compliance. Further, supervisors should have the power to impose a range of disciplinary sanctions, including the power to withdraw, restrict or suspend licenses.
In Saint Lucia, Supervisors include the FIA which has the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisory responsibility for financial institutions, the ECCB which regulates commercial banks and FSRA which has prudential supervision over other financial institutions such as credit unions.
These Supervisors mandate and powers are stated in various pieces of legislation. Section 6(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, Cap. 12.20 states that the FIA “for purposes of carrying out its function under section 5, … has the power to— (a) enter into the premises of a financial institution or person engaged in other business activity during normal working hours and inspect a transaction record kept by the financial institution or person engaged in other business activity.” Additionally, if there is non-compliance with the request to provide information, the person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.
The Banking Act No. 3 of 2015 states in section 3(1) that “a person shall not carry on banking business or hold himself or herself out as carrying on banking business in the Currency Union without a licence granted by the Central Bank”.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority Act, Cap. 12.23 in section 2(a)(b) states that the FSRA “shall— (a) consider and grant or refuse applications and requests under any of the enactments specified in Schedule 1; (b)maintain a general review of the operations of all regulated entities.”
Saint Lucia is currently undergoing its 4th Round Mutual Evaluation which culminates with an onsite visit by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) from September 16-27, 2019. This assessment seeks to determine Saint Lucia’s compliance with this and the other Recommendations. More information on this and the other recommendations can be downloaded from the website of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s at https://www.cfatf-gafic.org.
Editor’s note: The preceding is Part 30 of a series by The Attorney General’s Chambers and the National Anti-Money Laundering Oversight Committee (NAMLOC) which aims to shed light on the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.