24 January 2014

SWIFT shows readiness to help Russia’s banks meet sanctions challenge

Fighting financial crime is high on the agenda of Russia's banks.

A recently implemented law - Federal Law No. 134-FZ dated 28.06.2013 On Amending Certain Legal Acts of the Russian Federation in Part of Combating Illicit Financial Transactions - has given banks new rights and greater responsibilities in this area. The withdrawal of a number of banking licences by Russia's banking regulator (and now mega-regulator) the Bank of Russia has reinforced the urgency for banks to implement robust policies and solutions to meet their obligations.

Matthieu de Heering, Head of Russia, CIS and Mongolia, SWIFT

A conference in December in Moscow entitled Current state policy in the sphere of counteracting the legalisation/laundering of proceeds from crime and terrorist financing, explored this important topic in detail. Organised by the Association of Russian Banks, the Bank of Russia and the federal financial monitoring service agency RosFinMonitoring, the conference brought together 300-plus delegates to look at what banks must do to comply with the new law - and the solutions available to help them do it.

Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of the Bank of Russia, told delegates that the new banking law reinforces the move from a post facto to a preventative approach. Vladimir Nechaev, President of FATF (Russia currently holds FATF's rotating presidency), called on the banks to ensure they are not only compliant in theory, but can demonstrate compliance in practice.

Matthieu de Heering, Head of Russia, CIS and Mongolia, SWIFT, explained how SWIFT's Sanctions Screening and Sanctions Testing solutions are helping banks to avoid violating sanctions and to continually test the effectiveness and efficiency of their sanctions compliance systems. "Fighting financial crime is a top priority for SWIFT's customers globally, and this activity is creating costs while generating no competitive advantage," de Heering told delegates. "SWIFT's suite of compliance services can help banks in Russia as elsewhere to meet their obligations in the most cost-effective way."