At the end of each year I do a review of what I have done during that year. Each time I issue an invoice I categorise it by jurisdiction, by sector and by activity type, and this enables me to see where and how I spend my time. And this year, for the fourth year in a row, I am doing more “senior training” (i.e. for compliance teams and Boards) than before. This is pleasing, as I really enjoy this type of training; these audiences are generally more AML-aware and more demanding, and that keeps me on my toes. (It also means that I don’t have to explain the objective test of suspicion. I swear that even as my coffin is being lowered into the ground, you will hear me intoning “The prosecutor will not have to demonstrate that you did know or suspect it was the proceeds of crime, only that you should have done”.)
I was therefore delighted to read in the “Guernsey Press” last week (what? you don’t subscribe?) that the local regulator is highlighting corporate governance as a key area of concern. Anything that the regulator underlines is grist to my training mill, and according to the chief chap William Mason they will be on the lookout for “lack of understanding about a firm’s risk appetite…; weak non-executive directors and a lack of independent challenge in the boardroom; [and] inappropriate direction from group boards towards Guernsey subsidiaries, including instructions counter to local law”. Hurrah, say I, for here we have the mainstays of my Board-level AML training: understanding of, and adjusting, the risk appetite; standing your AML ground as a director, and demanding more information so that you can challenge with gusto; and making sure that all AML decisions are localised to your own jurisdiction and not visited upon you by head office. The more regulators who point out that AML responsibility starts at the top, and the more Boards who heed that warning, the happier I am.