Activities of the Group
The Group holds two Plenary meetings each year. Details of the next meeting are shown under the News section of the website.
Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
The Group has worked closely with the Basel Committee since the Group was formed at the instigation of that Committee in 1980 (see History).
Together the Basel Committee and the Group produced a paper entitled “The Implementation of the Basel Concordat: Practical aspects of International Collaboration between Banking Supervisory Authorities” circulated to supervisors world-wide in 1987. The Group collaborated with the Basel Committee in reviewing the 1987 paper and re-issuing its proposals in 1990 as a supplement to the 1983 Concordat. The Group then joined with the Basel Committee as a Working Group on Cross Border Banking which produced a number of reports before it was subsumed into the Basel Committee’s International Liaison Group.
GIFCS is currently represented on the Basel Committee's Consultative Group which brings together the chairs of the various regional groups and a number of jurisdictions not included in the membership of the Committee.
Financial Action Task Force on combating Money Laundering and the financing of Terrorism & proliferation
The GIFCS is represented at meetings of the FATF as an observer organization. All members of the Group have endorsed their commitment to the FATF Recommendations.
The Group participated in the review by the FATF of its Recommendations which was completed in February 2012. The group was also a member of the working group set up by the FATF to revise the methodology relating to the revised Recommendations. Currently it is involved with the FATF working group on beneficial ownership.
The Group participated in the work of the FATF on extending the risk based approach to AML/CFT to designated non-financial businesses and professions, contributing in particular to the approach for trust and company service providers on which it has subsequently issued its own standard.
The Group has co-led an FATF typologies project on the money laundering risks arising from trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants.
The Group is committed to the regular assessment/evaluation of members for AML/CFT. Within the Group member jurisdictions there are a number of persons who have been trained as assessors for mutual evaluations. While the Group has undertaken its own AML/CFT assessments, it is more usual for members’ compliance with the FATF Recommendations to be assessed by an FSRB of which they are also a member, or through a joint GIFCS/FSRB assessment where there is common membership.
In the past AML/CFT compliance has also been reviewed by the IMF as part of the IMF FSAP programme. The FSAP programme includes assessment of compliance with the international standards set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
Assessors from the Group have been called upon by the IMF and the FSRBs to assist in evaluation missions, particularly where international activities are significant and where the Group's assessors have relevant experience/expertise. This is particularly so in respect of designated non-financial businesses and professions and trust and company service providers.
Group members are committed to publishing their AML/CFT assessment reports in full. These reports also appear on the websites of the IMF, the FATF, or the relevant FSRB.
A successful framework for combating financial crime and money laundering includes depriving criminals of the proceeds of their crimes. This is greatly assisted by the confiscation of proceeds recovered through criminal, civil or administrative processes, and the restitution of funds to the victims of fraudulent or corrupt activity.
As an organisation with members who are committed to combating financial crime, the Group of International Finance Centre proactively encourages effective regimes which facilitate systematic and timely asset recovery as a priority. On 16 December 2014 the GIFCS reaffirmed its approach by way of a public commitment set out in this Statement.
This Statement specifically endorsed measures among its members for the tracing of the proceeds of crime in the context of asset recovery and repatriation of assets, and promotes robust frameworks for obtaining and maintaining records of beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements and of high risk customers such as politically exposed persons are crucial.
GIFCS promotes initiatives by its membership on combating corruption as part of its commitment to asset recovery.
Trust and Company Service Providers
The Group issued in 2002 a Best Practice Statement in respect of trust and company service providers. This was produced by an ad-hoc group set up by the Group on which sat representatives from the FATF, the OECD, the IMF and France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
Allied to the work on the Best Practice Statement on trust and company service providers the Group encouraged the FATF at the time to undertake work on the misuse of corporate vehicles. The Chairman of the Group led an FATF typologies project on the misuse of corporate vehicles, the report on which was published in October 2006. That report identified a number of next steps which it was recommended the FATF should take, which included what more can be done to ensure that adequate, accurate and timely information on the beneficial ownership and control of legal persons/legal arrangements may be obtained or accessed in a timely fashion by competent authorities.
In October 2014 the GIFCS issued a new Standard on the Regulation of Trust and Company Service Providers (“TCSPs”). In May 2017 this was supplemented by technical appendices addressing Client Money, Data Security and Data Protection, and Outsourcing. The Standard, the first of its type, introduced a minimum benchmark for the supervision of businesses administering international trusts and companies to follow.
The Standard promotes and reinforces high standards in the sector among GIFCS membership, many of whom already regulate TCSP activity. The Standard addresses matters of both prudential and conduct regulation, and is designed to complement the international supervisory standards of the Basel Committee, FATF, IAIS and IOSCO. In this way the Standard can also be enforced through the financial services legislation of individual jurisdictions.
Those parts of the Standard that address financial crime are underpinned by the Recommendations of the FATF on the prevention of money laundering and the countering of terrorism financing, especially those requiring intermediaries to know who are the ultimate beneficial owners behind the companies, and the beneficiaries and key functionaries behind the trusts, which they administer.
The Standard is being applied to GIFCS members. A process of mutual evaluations of compliance has commenced for which a high-level Methodology has been prepared, together with a note on effectivness. Reports of these evaluations will be published. It is hoped that larger jurisdictions which are hosting TCSP activity, many of whom do not yet have formal oversight arrangements of their own, will also embrace the Standard and assessment process there under.
In order to develop the supervisory process and to facilitate co-operation and the exchange of supervisory information, a Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between member regulators. A total of 14 GIFCS members have signed the MMOU, 4 members are completing arrangements to enable them to sign within a three year period, and one member does not undertake or have a supervisory regime for TCSP activity.
A Protocol for establishing colleges of TCSP supervisors among GIFCS members has been agreed. Its use commenced in 2017, and members will co-ordinate and decide internally on those TCSP groups where it is felt that greater supervisory co-ordination and communication could assist oversight.
The Group arranges training workshops for TCSP supervision.
The Group participated in the IMF Fifth Round Table for Offshore and Onshore Supervisors and Standard Setters held in Basel in January 2008 which focused on transparency issues.
In June 2008 the Group made a submission to the UK House of Commons Treasury Select Committee in response to that Committee’s announcement that it was to study the role of offshore financial centres for financial stability and transparency. In summary the overall message that the summary sought to convey is that in relation to financial stability and transparency, both to the extent of the existing commitment and the need for further action, offshore financial centres ought not to be separately distinguished but should be considered with jurisdictions generally. This is because financial stability issues are global in nature and call for a global response.
The Group is keen to maintain relationships with international organisations and representatives of relevant organisations are invited to attend Group meetings as observers. These include representatives of the IMF, the FATF, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Egmont Group, the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority and representatives from the FSRBs.
The Group has been invited as an observer at meetings organised by the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
The Group supports the principle of inclusivity as far as membership of the Group is concerned. Membership is based on a clear political commitment to comply with the international standards of financial regulation and AML/CFT, and on the legislation and administration to put this commitment into effect being either in place or in early prospect.