FICA: Amendments proposedDate posted: 22.04.2015 | Author: Harry Bovensmann
Proposed amendments to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) will clamp down more severely on money laundering and corruption, enhancing the supervisory powers of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and introducing the concept of Prominent Influential Persons (PIPs).
The Bill will enhance customer due diligence requirements by, for example, introducing the concept of domestic and foreign Prominent Influential Persons (PIPs). These include, among others, presidents and deputy presidents; ministers, premiers; political party leaders; government department executives; CEOs, chairpersons and CFOs of listed entities; judges; ambassadors; high-ranking South African National Defence Force officers; and country heads of international organisations.
These classifications are meant to help financial institutions properly identify clients and apply “appropriate standards of due diligence”, according to Treasury, rather than suggest PIPs are more likely to be involved in criminal activity and prevent financial institutions from doing business with them. This is in keeping with the Bill’s risk-based approach to customer due diligence, which takes into account circumstances pertaining to each client when verifying their identity.
The Bill also extends the powers of the FIC in relation to “suspicious transactions”, with proposed new sections inserted into FICA to this effect.
According to Treasury, the Bill addresses “regulatory gaps” that were identified by 2009 evaluations done by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as well as International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessments performed last year.