Financial Inclusion

Conversations: Shawki Ahwash, North Africa Commercial Bank

Course Duration: 23 minutes
Course Points: 20

This week Fridays with Fintelekt hosted by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt features Shawki Ahwash, Head of AML/CFT & Sanctions Division, North Africa Commercial Bank from Beirut, Lebanon.

A career banker, Shawki enjoys sharing the knowledge that he has gained with others through training and teaching. He feels that AML/CFT is a dynamic and evolving field and technology has changed everything about it – be it onboarding, profiling or monitoring of customers and transactions.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have had to take proactive measures to combat fraud and cybercrime and have had to sensitize their clients. The need of the hour is to upgrade and re-skill front-line staff that is dealing directly with the customer.

For AML/CFT to become more effective, he recommends that banks and financial institutions conduct a separate risk assessment for sanctions and AML, ascertain the quality of data to reduce false positives and move away from filing defensive STRs. High quality STRs which provide the underlying predicate offence, an elaborate narrative, profile of clients and the circumstances of the transaction to the extent possible will contribute to the regulator’s database and aid the understanding of newer trends and typologies.

On the new AML law in the UAE, Shawki thinks that many Arab or GCC countries may copy some of the steps – around screening, targeted financial sanctions, DNFBPs, etc. – to fortify their regulatory environment on anti-financial crime.

For many regional trends and insights on crypto, financial inclusion, screening, and others, tune in to the entire episode. 

Conversations: F. Christopher Calabia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Course Duration: 19 minutes
Course Points: 15

On this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt. Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with F. Christopher Calabia, Senior Advisor, Supervisory & Regulatory Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about financial inclusion and the role of digital financial services.

The Gates Foundation supports work that addresses inequities in healthcare, education and economic empowerment, especially for women and girls and believes that access to digital financial tools allows the unbanked and underbanked sections of the population to lift themselves and their families out of poverty sustainably.

The Foundation therefore has a direct interest in promoting appropriate regulation and support for the relatively new business model of digital financial services, and in ensuring that it is not abused for money laundering or terrorism financing.

Chris applauds the FATF’s initiative in broadening the dialogue and reaching out proactively to a wider set of stakeholders to study the unintended consequences of its standards. The consultative process will bring in voices that have not been represented in these discussions before – such as the poor, women, advocacy groups and international development organisations.

The conversation explores many more themes around the role of stablecoins in financial inclusion, regulatory evolution and how it can keep pace with technology trends, and the need for innovative approaches to regulation. 

Fintelekt ABA Webinar: Assessing the Impact of the FATF on Financial Inclusion

Course Duration: 59 minutes
Course Points: 55

This course allows Premium users to attempt an assessment and download a Participation Certificate.

Fintelekt Advisory Services and the Asian Bankers Association hosted a webinar on Assessing the Impact of the FATF on Financial Inclusion on June 22, 2021.

The webinar was moderated by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services and he was joined by esteemed speakers F. Christopher Calabia, Senior Advisor, Supervisory & Regulatory Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Isabella Chase, Research Fellow, Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute.

Around the world there are roughly 1.7 billion people without access to a financial account either at a bank or with a mobile money provider. For those 1.7 billion, access to financial services is constrained by several factors, including the controls in place at financial institutions to try and curtail financial crime risk. The standards for these controls are set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) who, since 2019, have committed to promoting financial inclusion. The FATF recently launched a project to examine the unintended consequences of its framework, one aspect of which, focuses on financial exclusion. 

The Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies(CFCS) at The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), over the past 18 months, has researched the impacts of the FATF standards on financial inclusion. This effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has resulted in the production of two papers released in June 2021. 

The webinar includes the findings of these two papers and highlights:
(a) the impacts of the FATF framework on financial inclusion and
(b) five recommendations for how FATF could better promote and protect financial inclusion in the future.

Webinar: Assessing the Impact of the FATF on Financial Inclusion

Course Duration: 41 minutes
Course Points: 35

Fintelekt Advisory Services and the Asian Bankers Association hosted a webinar on Assessing the Impact of the FATF on Financial Inclusion on June 22, 2021.

The webinar was moderated by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services and he was joined by esteemed speakers F. Christopher Calabia, Senior Advisor, Supervisory & Regulatory Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Isabella Chase, Research Fellow, Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute.

Around the world there are roughly 1.7 billion people without access to a financial account either at a bank or with a mobile money provider. For those 1.7 billion, access to financial services is constrained by several factors, including the controls in place at financial institutions to try and curtail financial crime risk. The standards for these controls are set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) who, since 2019, have committed to promoting financial inclusion. The FATF recently launched a project to examine the unintended consequences of its framework, one aspect of which, focuses on financial exclusion. 

The Centre for Financial Crime & Security Studies(CFCS) at The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), over the past 18 months, has researched the impacts of the FATF standards on financial inclusion. This effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has resulted in the production of two papers released in June 2021. 

The webinar includes the findings of these two papers and highlights:
(a) the impacts of the FATF framework on financial inclusion and
(b) five recommendations for how FATF could better promote and protect financial inclusion in the future.

Conversations: Isabella Chase, Royal United Services Institute

Course Duration: 23 minutes
Course Points: 20

In this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt, Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with Isabella Chase, Research Fellow at Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (CFCS), Royal United Services Institute.

Isabella speaks about the motivation behind RUSI’s latest research on understanding and evaluating the impact of the FATF framework on financial inclusion, and how the pandemic triggered a fresh urgency to understand the barriers to financial inclusion as governments around the world rushed to get disbursement and support payments to their populations. The risk-based approach allows for identification of low-risk scenarios and a proportionate application of due diligence controls, but in practice, there are several challenges to achieving the balance between robust financial crime controls with financial inclusion objectives.

The conversation continues on to the January 2020 AML regulations introduced in the UK and their impact on the high-value art world, the roller coaster of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and the similarities in risk characteristics with the early days of cryptocurrencies.

Watch this course until the end for Isabella’s choice of the top three areas that need immediate global attention in the fight against financial crime!

Expert Speak: Eden Dema, Fantasia Hamtsham Consultancy

Course Duration: 26 minutes
Course Points: 25

Eden Dema, Founder, Fantasia Hamtsham Consultancy and Former Deputy Governor, Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan talked about Balancing Financial Integrity and Financial Inclusion. She covered traditional barriers to financial inclusion and shared opportunities to improve financial inclusion.

This presentation was part of the AMLC-Fintelekt AML/CTF Summit Philippines 2020, conducted virtually from November 23rd – 27th, 2020.

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