ICELAND: ‘ Recovering Fastest in Europe After Jailing Bankers Instead of Bailing them Out’

arrest-bankers#AceNewsReport – ICELAND:June.18: After Iceland suffered a heavy hit in the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which famously resulted in convictions and jail terms for a number of top banking executives, the IMF now says the country has managed to achieve economic recovery—“without compromising its welfare model,” which includes universal healthcare and education. 

In fact, Iceland is on track to become the first European country that suffered in the financial meltdown to “surpass its pre-crisis peak of economic output”—essentially proving to the U.S. that bailing out “too big to fail” banks wasn’t the way to go.

Iceland is beautifully, yet unfortunately, unique in how it chose to handle the disaster. It simply let the banks fail, which resulted in defaults totaling $85 billion—lending ample justification for the prosecution and conviction of bank executives for various fraud-related charges. The decision seemed shocking at the time, but the gamble has obviously paid off. Choosing a different route, the U.S. bailed out the banks and let executives off the hook by levying fines that ultimately ended up being paid by the corporations—meaning the executives ostensibly responsible for the mess got off scot-free.

“Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?” special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson said after Iceland’s Supreme Court upheld the convictions for three bankers—and sentenced them to between four and five and a half years each. “It is dangerous that someone is too big to investigate—it gives a sense there is a safe haven.”

Hauksson, a police officer from a small fishing village, ended up taking the role of special prosecutor after being urged to do so when the first announcement to fill the position drew no applicants. The Icelandic Parliament even aided the prosecution’s effort by loosening secrecy laws to allow investigation without the hindrance of requiring court orders.

Six of the seven convictions that ended up in Iceland’s Supreme Court have been upheld, and five cases were scheduled for the top court as of February. An additional fourteen cases appear likely to be prosecuted. By contrast, the animosity Americans felt toward their largest financial institutions after the bailout has grown bitter. After the banks pled guilty in May for manipulating global currency and interest rates, the court imposed a paltry fine of $5.7 billion—which won’t even go to the people most affected by the fraud. Iceland’s successful prosecutions and economic recovery remain the subject of envy for Americans.

Shortly, however, Iceland’s economic health will be put to the test.

Strict capital controls that were applied when banks were circling the drain six years ago will now be loosened, allowing foreign investors—whose assets have essentially been frozen since then—to take their business elsewhere. To prevent a possible repeat crisis, the finance minister announced a 39% tax for anyone choosing to do so. “The danger is capital flight and a consequent fall in the value of the krona,” explained University of Iceland economics professor, Thorolfur Matthiasson. “That would be tantamount to October 2008, bringing back bad memories for ordinary people and possibly making most businesses unsustainable due to balance-sheet problems.”

Though many are nervous, there is still cautionary optimism since Iceland has certainly weathered the storm before.

Claire Bernish writes for TheAntiMedia.org, where this article first appeared. Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Javier Soriano.

Courtesy of Activist Post & Posted on by Claire Bernish

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AUSTRIA: #Bilderberg Conference forum of discussion, so why behind closed doors seems like #conspiracyforum ‘

#AceNewsReport – AUSTRIA:June.13: The #Bilderberg conference, which bills itself as a “forum for informal discussions” held by the world’s top brass, has drawn fire from protesters gathered near the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol in Austria, accusing the attendees of corruption and elitism.

' Bilderbergs  meet behind closed doors '
‘ Bilderbergs meet behind closed doors ‘

After a rally on Friday, anti-Bilderberg activists re-emerged on Saturday afternoon to protest what many of them refer to as a gathering of criminals. Thousands of protesters are expected to assemble outside the hotel where the #Bilderberg group meeting is taking place.

“What we have seen is a very tight police cordon. It has been very difficult for many people to get to this area. Some journalists have been subject to rather humiliating police tactics,”RT’s Peter Oliver reported.

Austrian police officers stand guard at a street check point before the Bilderberg meetings at Interalpen Hotel in the Austrian village of Buchen, June 12, 2015. (Reuters / Leonhard Foeger)

Austrian police officers stand guard at a street check point before the #Bilderberg meetings at Interalpen Hotel in the Austrian village of Buchen, June 12, 2015. (Reuters / Leonhard Foeger)

https://twitter.com/Chris_P_Burke/status/609682694130266112

Some like it hot, but those gathered for the #Bilderberg meeting in Austria seem to prefer it “top secret.” According to the published agenda, a total of around 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance this year, including German Defense Minister Ursula van der Leyen, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, UK Chancellor George Osborne and former President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, just to name a few. One of its past participants is the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss Kahn, accused of sexual assault by a New York hotel maid in 2011.

The key rule of participation is the so-called “Chatham House Rule”, which states that while attendees are free to use the information received, “neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.”

Read More:>>>

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#BREAKING144 ‘ Former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn acquitted in pimping trial ‘

 LILLE, France (AP) – Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been cleared of pimping charges in a French trial that hinged on sex parties that took place in the midst of the global financial crisis.

Friday’s verdict closes four years of legal drama. Ten others were acquitted as well.

Strauss-Kahn had told the court the parties were much-needed “recreation…

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Russia experiencing recession now, says IMF

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has basically said with all the sanctions on Russia, that Russia is now in a DEEP recession. Now if true, this will make it very hard for Russia to trade for War. Iran and others have been warned about trading with Russia. So, looks like these sanctions are biting hard! Facing an estimated £30 Million pound bill so far ($50 Million Dollars) this could push the Russian Republic to the brink of Civil war as people will start to go hungry and less medication and more. Links below as usual
Russia is “experiencing recession now” because of damage caused by the Ukraine crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. The fund, which cut its growth forecast for Russia, said $100bn (£59bn) would leave the country this year. Antonio Spilimbergo, the IMF’s mission chief in Moscow, said international sanctions were damaging the economy and threatening investment. Russia’s economy contracted in the first three months of this year. But Mr Spilimbergo said he expected that to continue.

“If you understand by recession two quarters of negative economic growth, then Russia is experiencing recession now,” he added. “The difficult situation and especially the uncertainty surrounding the geopolitical situation… and escalation of sanctions are weighing very negatively on the investment climate.” The IMF cut its 2014 growth forecast for Russia to 0.2% from 1.3% and said it expected the country’s economy to grow by only 1% next year. Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has already cut Russia’s rating to one notch above “junk” status. And last week Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rate from 7% to 7.5% in an effort to defend the value of the rouble, which has lost more than 8% against the dollar so far this year.

Investor flight

IMF-Logo1Mr Spilimbergo said the interest rate rise would reduce the rate of inflation, but that it would not be enough to prevent consumer prices rising more than 6% in 2014. Russia itself has expressed concerns about investors moving money out of the country amid tensions and sanctions over its intervention in Ukraine. Its central bank said $64bn had left the country in the first quarter of the year – more than the capital outflows registered for the whole of 2013. The investor flight has partly been prompted by US and EU sanctionstargeting a number of Russian companies and high-profile business figures, including those close to President Vladimir Putin. The Russian government has retaliated with a warning that the sanctions could be damaging for Western energy firms. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the sanctions have so far caused “a quite substantial deterioration in Russia’s already weak economy”.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/30/russia-economy-imf-recesssion-idUSL6N0NM33L20140430

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/imf-mission-chief-says-russia-is-experiencing-recession-now/articleshow/34423415.cms

http://rt.com/business/155848-russia-in-recession-imf/

http://www.france24.com/en/20140430-russia-recession-imf-cuts-2014-forecast/

#russia, #100bn-59bn-lost-by-russia, #damage-caused-by-the-ukraine-crisis, #imf, #international-monetary-fund, #russia-falls-into-recession, #the-imf-cut-its-2014-growth-forecast-for-russia-to-0-2-from-1-3

` IMF will send fact find team to `Ukraine’ in response to countries request for financial support’

#AceWorldNews says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will send a fact-finding team to Ukraine over the next few days in response to the country’s request for financial support, the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Thursday.

“This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a fund-supported program,” she said in a statement.

#ANS2014

#christine-lagarde, #imf, #international-monetary-fund, #ukraine

#Ukraine : `Political Turmoil stalks the `Corridor’s of Power’ as the posturing continues’

#AceNewsServices says with the `Ukraine still in Political Turmoil and the President in hiding somewhere in the Crimea- Reports.  What Now!

Published time: February 24 2014
 
A general view taken on February 23, 2014 shows Kiev's Independence Square. (AFP Photo / DAaniel Slim) A general view taken on February 23, 2014 shows Kiev’s Independence Square. (AFP Photo / DAaniel Slim)
 Political instability settled over Ukraine as the opposition-controlled parliament voted to appoint its newly elected speaker as acting president, with eastern and southern Ukraine saying they no longer see parliament as legitimate.

Monday, February 24 and the latest:

The Ukrainian state treasury is empty and the country is nearly bankrupt, said Arseny Yatsenyuk, leader of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party during the parliamentary session.

‘We have to ask financial help from the International Monetary Fund,” added Yatsenyuk, commenting that Ukraine has never seen a financial catastrophe on this scale in its history.

The Party of Regions’ faction in the parliament is now in opposition to the current authorities of Ukraine, the party’s leader in the Rada, Aleksandr Yefremov, announced.

“Considering the fact that you took over the party and, as we see, you have the capabilities to form a government and rebuild governance, we decided to be in the opposition,” he told heads of other parties and committees.

Viktor Yanukovich‘s once-majority Party of Regions has suffered a mass exodus of MPs in the past few days. At least 77 parliamentarians have announced their resignation from the party ranks, thinning them down to some 130 MPs.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Communist Party, an ally of the Party of the Regions in the Rada, announced it is now part of the opposition.

The number of injured in Kiev clashes has risen to 675, of whom 447 people have been taken to hospitals, reports Ukraine’s Ministry of Health.

Thirty-one people sought medical help in the past 24 hours, and 24 of them were taken to hospitals, adds the ministry.

The number of dead – 82 people – remained unchanged.

Ukraine estimates that it needs $35 billion in aid to stabilize its economy, acting Finance Minister Yury Kolobkov said.

The immense figure is exactly the sum of the $15 billion, which Russia pledged to lend in November, when the political crisis was it its first weeks, and the $20 billion, which the EU may lend to a new Ukrainian government, according to Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Both Russia and the EU say they want to see a stable government in Ukraine, before any money will actually be transferred. The EU also demands financial reforms in Ukraine as a condition for aid.

An arrest warrant for Ukraine’s ex-President Viktor Yanukovich has been issued, said the country’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

“We have initiated criminal proceedings concerning the massacre of peaceful civilians. Yanukovich along with other officials has been put on the wanted list,”added Avakov.

All in all, the governors of nine Ukrainian regions have resigned, according to regional state administration websites.

Among them are the governors form western Ukrainian regions of Lvov, Volyn, Ivano-Frankovsk and Zhitomir. Also the governments resigned in the southern region of Nikolaev, and central regions of Kirovograd, Poltava, Ternopol and Vinnitsa.

“Complex political situation in the country” was named as the motive of resignation in almost all the cases.

The UK is ready to provide support to Ukraine through schemes set up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and EU, UK Finance Minister George Osborne said.

“A lot of this [support] will take the form of loans and the like, but there will be good investments in the economy of Ukraine,” said Osborne.

Ukraine’s interim leadership in the face of the acting President and acting President Aleksandr Turchinov pledged on Sunday to put the conflict-torn country back on course for European integration.

Newly-elected speaker of parliament Aleksandr Turchinov (Reuters)Newly-elected speaker of parliament Aleksandr Turchinov (Reuters)

Ukrainian governors of the Lvov and Poltava regions, Oleg Salo and Aleksander Udovichenko, resigned, according to the Lvov and Poltava Regional State Administration websites. Earlier, there were reports of resignations of governors in the Vinnitsa and Ternopol regions.

People hold up signs during a protest across the street from the Ukraine Consulate in the Manhattan borough of New York February 23, 2014 (Reuters / Carlo Allegri)

People hold up signs during a protest across the street from the Ukraine Consulate in the Manhattan borough of New York February 23, 2014 (Reuters / Carlo Allegri)

Acting Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov denied reports that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was arrested in Crimea, according to UNN news agency. Earlier, Ukrainian media reported that Yanukovich was arrested in the southern peninsula of Crimea. “I do not know what it is about. I do not possess such information,” Avakov said.

In the midst of Ukraine’s political turmoil and following the opposition’s power takeover in Kiev and western regions, about 1,000 demonstrators rallied against EU integration in the city of Kerch in the southeastern Autonomous Republic of Crimea on Sunday. The protesters called for cessation from Ukraine and raised the Russian flag over city hall. Authorities later replaced it with the Ukrainian flag. The region is mostly Russian-speaking and has historically had close ties with Russia.

Following the formation of the new government in Ukraine, the EU will most like be ready to give 20 billion euros for carrying out reforms in the country, the chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Elmar Brok, said, as cited by Interfax.

Moscow recalled Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov for consultations. “Due to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the need for a comprehensive analysis of the situation, the decision was made to recall the Russian ambassador to Ukraine for consultations in Moscow,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
Mikhail Zurabov (RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov) Mikhail Zurabov (RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov)

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov stated that Ukraine was prepared to speak with Russia. Turchinov said that the aim would be to create relations on “new, equal and good-neighborly footing, that recognizes and takes into account Ukraine’s European choice.” He added that another priority would be to “return to the path of European integration”, while reminding the nation that the economy – which remains at risk of default – still had to be stabilized.

The Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol has voted to stop paying taxes to Kiev, as it is seeking independence.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is going to Kiev on Monday to discuss measures to shore up the ailing economy.

“In Kiev she is expected to meet key stakeholders and discuss the support of the European Union for a lasting solution to the political crisis and measures to stabilise the economic situation,” the EU said in a statement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has again spoken with US Secretary of State John Kerry. In their second telephone conversation in two days, Lavrov told Kerry “the most important thing now is to provide for the complete fulfillment” of the EU-brokered agreement.

“The Ukrainian opposition is deviating from the agreement, having in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence,” Lavrov told Kerry, according to a ministry statement.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice has stated that it would be a ‘grave mistake‘ for Russia to send any military forces into Ukraine, according to Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s press service said on Sunday without disclosing further details.
A statement from Merkel’s office said both leaders agreed they had a joint interest in seeing a stable Ukraine, “both in economic and political terms” and would stay in close contact as the situation continues to develop.

Recently freed Yulia Tymoshenko has no plans to become the interim prime minister, according to several deputies in her Fatherland party.

“I have unofficial information that she doesn’t have her sights set on the post,”said party member Nikolay Tomenko. Another deputy Sergey Sobolev later confirmed it, saying that negotiations about the identity of the new head of government are still ongoing.

The former prime minister has already declared that she will run for president in May.

 

BN: ‘As for president #Yanoukovich – this is history already. Let’s move on & think abt future’, #Kharkov mayor. Eastern #Ukraine#Maidan

— Maria Finoshina (@MFinoshina_RT) February 23, 2014

More soon …………………………………………..now its money that is needed and everyone wants to help – themselves ! 

 

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” Teaching Students How to Properly Launder Money”

#AceChinaNews says this post was courtesy of  wuyiyao and his report, on how someone on his course asked ” Is there a way of laundering money `properly’ and this is his post.   

During a financial orientation course at Shanghai Finance University, 19-year-old Li Jing raised his hand and asked if there is a way of laundering money “properly”.

A little later, another student said she had heard that even small coffee houses can launder cash. She asked for an explanation of how the practice works and how to spot financial crimes committed under the guise of daily business activity.

Dang Hue, Asia head of the Association of Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialists, said in response to the students’ questions, “There is no legal way to launder money, because the activity is intrinsically illegal, and anyone involved will be caught and punished.”Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Li and his peers are the first undergraduates in China to major in Compliance and Anti-Money-Laundering, a course created to meet increasing demand from financial markets amid the country’s ongoing economic development.

Dang said the students’ questions are a sign that compliance and anti-money-laundering are still relatively new concepts.

“There’s a long way to go. When the students graduate from this undergraduate program, they will still need more hands-on experience and training to become qualified anti-money-laundering specialists,” Dang said.

Compliance, the adherence to business laws and policy, has become a buzzword after recent probes into alleged bribery, corruption and fraud at State-owned enterprises and multinational corporations, especially large pharmaceutical companies.

The students realize that what they learn will be crucial for the healthy development of China’s financial and economic system and that the demand for professionals in the field will surge in the next few years.

Supply shortages

According to the International Monetary Fund, laundered money accounts for approximately 5 percent of the combined annual GDP of all the countries in the world, approximately $1.8 trillion. The figure is rising at a rapid rate, with annual growth of $100 billion.

Amid faster-than-ever global capital flows, dirty money, which finances crimes including drug dealing, human trafficking and terrorism, will be “washed clean” by laundering if effective action isn’t taken, said Dang.

“As the world’s second-largest economy plays an increasingly important role in global economic development and the internationalization of the yuan continues, China’s efforts to combat money laundering will have a growing impact on the global economic picture,” said Dang.

However, the gap between the supply of and demand for talent in compliance and AML work is wide.

“In Shanghai alone, about 2,000 professionals are needed for compliance and AML work,” said Chu Zhen, head of the Department of Finance at Shanghai Finance University. It’s likely that it will take a long time to fill all those positions, however, given that the school only can enroll around 50 students a year. The first majors in compliance and AML will graduate in 2017.

Ma Qing, a Shanghai-based head hunter who specializes in the financial sector, said some of the most difficult requests to fulfil come from companies looking for compliance officers.

In the past, many employers put compliance under the direction of other, unrelated departments, and the responsibilities often included a number of miscellaneous functions that had little to do with legal affairs.

“The job prospects were not attractive; the pay was low, the outline of the responsibilities was too vague and compliance units were given very few resources,” said Ma.

That may be about to change, though; salaries in the field may rise by 40 percent or even more, and compliance units are being given a say in a wider range of decisions.

“One client on our books told me that as a compliance officer, he feels more respected, involved, and indispensable in his workplace than before. He is not alone in thinking that,” said Ma.

The difficulty in finding talent lies in the current dearth of experienced professionals, he added.

“I’ve been working on filling a vacancy at a bank, but the employer is demanding at least five years’ experience in compliance. But that’s a very rare commodity because few people were willing to work in the sector given the poor conditions in the past, and very few remained in the field for five years to gain the necessary experience,” he said.

Some educational establishments realized the problem existed and began to take action. In 2009, Shanghai Fudan University established postgraduate-level programs in compliance and AML, and cultivated talent to meet the future market demand.

Shanghai Finance University and AML association have cooperated on the undergraduate program since autumn. Together, they are providing wide-ranging training, including basic AML courses that focus on regulatory requirements in China, the study of global standards and leading practices in the fight against money laundering.

Experts in compliance and AML from across the world will be invited to lecture and provide practical experience, and all the Shanghai Finance University lecturers have been trained by experts from the AML association, according to Dang.

Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Student will gain hands-on experience through internships at insurers, stockbrokers, financial institutions, auction houses and property developers, according to Chu.

In addition to courses in economics, finance and other compulsory studies for Chinese college students, the first undergraduate compliance and AML majors at Shanghai Finance University will learn by studying cases of illegal financial behaviour.

“Wherever there is significant cash flow, there is soil for compliance and AML work. Students will use case studies to understand how money laundering works, but personal integrity will also be key to their future success – we hope students equipped with that sort of knowledge won’t get involved in improper deeds,” said Chu.

Circumstances can also play a role, however. A report published by Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Service in August 2013, said: “We are beginning to see a slowdown in growth. Companies are faced with budget cuts and are struggling to meet their targets. Business risks are often heightened in economically hard times.”

Weak controls, a tough business environment – which may prompt enterprises to take “shortcuts” to achieve sales or business-growth targets – the use of technology to detect bribery and fraud, and an established, but as yet, immature whistle-blowing program all contribute to compliance risks.

In the Asia-Pacific region and other emerging markets, poor regulatory frameworks and a lack of effective channels for reporting illegal behaviour have provided an environment in which illegal financial activities, such as fraud and corruption, are able to flourish.

“The key question for companies in the (Asia-Pacific) region is how to effectively minimize the risk of fraud and corruption in high-risk markets with weak control environments, given the restricted resources,” said the E&Y report.

The authorities and businesses have strengthened measures to combat illegal behaviour in economic activity, and funding has been increased to help achieve that goal.

Chinese banks already rate their clients’ risk of criminal conduct on a scale of one to five as part of efforts by the People’s Bank of China to curb laundering and fraudulent transactions, according to a post on the central bank’s official website.

Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Financial institutions must identify their riskiest clients and use their own discretion to report suspect deals. The accounts of clients assessed as high-risk must be checked frequently and not once every six months, as is the normal practice, the PBOC website said.

In December 2012, the PBOC issued new anti-money laundering rules to all domestic financial institutions, requiring lenders to rate clients based on their location and the nature of their business, including their levels of transparency. A number of insurers and stockbrokers have also implemented the system.

So far the PBOC has yet to set a deadline for companies to comply with the guidelines.

“In the past, clients were rated against a checklist of money laundering traits, but the list failed to differentiate risk levels. That led financial institutions to unwittingly inundate the authorities with information and false leads that impeded the checks,” said a source with a Shanghai-based commercial bank who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The source said that as the PBOC’s anti-money laundering rules are implemented, a greater number of professionals are becoming involved in training programs to learn more about AML and the prevalent practices.

Businesses are becoming more attuned to, and knowledgeable about, AML and bribery, according to market insiders.

Foreign businesses were once regulated by the laws of their home countries, but an increasing number are now better prepared and aware of the fact that they need to ensure they have good “know-your-customer” policies to tackle AML issues and effective anti-corruption and bribery policies in place, said Dang.

A large number of financial professionals have undertaken intensive training in the relevant programs.

Approximately 190,000 professionals work in the AML field in China’s banking, insurance and securities sectors, but most of them are new to the field, according to a report published by the PBOC, which acts as the banking regulator in China.

Crucially, however, self-regulation is a growing trend as companies acknowledge the benefits that can accrue from being seen as squeaky clean.

Research undertaken in 2013 by the consultancy services provider A.T. Kearney, which conducted in-depth interviews with compliance executives at 40 top companies worldwide, showed that most of the interviewees said they expect to expand their compliance systems. Furthermore, 57 percent of those interviewed said they will most likely seek external help, especially in staffing departments with experts in issues such as anti-corruption, data protection and product safety.

“Today’s regulatory pressure doesn’t stop with the external authorities. Many firms understand that compliance can lead to a competitive advantage and are making their suppliers commit to compliance standards that go far beyond those required by law,” said the report.

Thanks to the Author wuyiyao for supplying this post. 

 

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