The office of the Central Bank of the UAE in Sharjah at Abu Shagara area.
The UAE Central Bank provided key updates on the sector's push towards compliance and mitigate associated risks. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE Central Bank has called on banks and financial institutions to place greater focus on compliance functions to mitigate risks.

The regulator held its first Compliance Officers Forum, which was chaired by Abdulhamid M. Saeed Alahmadi, the Governor. More than 100 chief compliance officers and senior professionals from the banking industry attended, including Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation (UBF).

Alahmadi emphasising the importance of compliance functions and its role in ensuring sound and comprehensive management of all risks faced by banks. The forum addressed several matters where banks need to assess the scope and skills of their compliance function and properly embed the compliance risk within the overall risk appetite framework.

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“The UAE is strongly committed to applying Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to ensure that its financial system is safe and sound," said Alahmadi. "We urge financial institutions to retain their focus on combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism.”

This forum aims to create a dialogue between the CBUAE and chief compliance officers to discuss expectations from compliance function and banks’ risk management. This supports achieving the UAE’s agenda to strengthen the efforts on anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting financing of terrorism.

CBUAE introduced the supervisory agenda of the CBUAE Anti-Money Laundering Department with a particular focus on complying with FATF recommendations.

Digitalizing KYC

Participants were updated on the progress of the national initiative for digitalising the 'know-your-customer' (KYC) process to ensure uniform regulatory standards. “We see chief compliance officers as our partners in this journey," the governor added. "We expect that these regular forums organised by the Central Bank will provide a solid platform for regulatory dialogue with the industry.”