This is the financial crime conference of the year. Spanning over 7 days (6th – 13th September 2015), with over 500 speakers, from all corners of the globe, set in the historic building of Jesus College, it is quite an awe inspiring setting.
I was presenting a workshop titled “Can Banks do More in the fight against Money Laundering” based on a recent paper that was published.
The premise of the paper and the workshop was that the role of banks are willingly or unwittingly being used as both facilitators of licit financial flows, but also illicit financial flows.
Illicit financial flows include both the proceeds of crime, but also activities that are legal, like transfer pricing. This is where companies utilise transactions between subsidiaries across jurisdictions to minimise tax paid as a whole. In fact today, in the UK, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell discussed collecting unpaid taxes from large corporations.
The challenge for banks is that the same vehicles such as secrecy jurisdictions, offshore banking and anonymous shell companies, that can used by legally for transfer pricing are also used by criminals to illegally launder the proceeds or crime.
The workshop was very well received and there were active lively debates mainly focused around culture and conduct, a prominent feature throughout all the conference.
The Cambridge Symposium had many prominent speakers there, including David Green QC, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). His speech really sums up why the culture or compliance is such an important topic. He is also a speaker at the Compliance Week Europe Conference on the 26th and 27th October 2015. It will be interesting to see the developments in some of the SFO’s case load.
I will also be speaking at the conference in Brussels, but this time on the Senior Managers Regime. Whilst this is focused on the financial services, we are now hearing about industries outside of financial services, such as the Volkswagen scandal involving misleading emissions testing data that will inevitably lead to similar compliance programmes to be put into place. The world of compliance moves fast!
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