Firms based in Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) should sharpen their focus on reducing the risks of trade-based money laundering (TBML), according to a report from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The DFSA Trade Finance Report 2016 assesses the quality of systems and controls, in particular measures to mitigate TBML risks, at banks and other financial service providers in DIFC.

Best practice

The report says that while senior management in some firms are aware of TBML risks, they have not created policies to guide lower-level staff, which results in limited oversight.

The report prepared by DFSA, the regulator of firms based in DIFC, also contains a 48-point list of best practice.

Firms are recommended to raise awareness of money laundering, hire experienced staff, ensure regular training with a specific emphasis on money-laundering risks, and establish competency programmes in trade finance operations.

TBML focus

Chief executive of DFSA, Ian Johnston, sees “an increased focus globally on TBML risks from international groups such the Financial Action Task Force and financial service regulators” and urged firms to benefit from all international guidance issued in that regard.

But Johnston is also prepared to get tough. “The DFSA continues to work toward enhancing the quality of systems and controls of regulated firms in the DIFC. Where we detect weaknesses or failures, we will rectify them through supervisory or enforcement actions,” he said.

The DFSA Trade Finance Report 2016 can be found here.