UBS, Singapore-Based WMI Aim To Help Asia's Wealth Sector Beat Money Launderers

UBS and The Wealth Management Institute, the Singapore-based organisation, have launched a programme designed to improve how the industry combats criminal money.

The Zurich-listed lender and the group have created the WMI Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Risk Management Program. UBS is sponsoring the programme for three year, it said in a joint statement with the institute yesterday.

WMI will create a series of teaching modules on AMl and counter-terrorism financing topics. To be accredited by the Institute of Banking & Finance (under the IBF Standards, the training takes account of specific AML/CFT issues faced by the wealth management industry as well as Singapore’s role as an international financial centre that operates in Asia.

The move comes at a time when Singapore's authorities have cracked down on private banks, such as BSI and Falcon Private Bank, and others, for failing to uphold sufficiently tight controls to deal with money laundering. BSI's Singaporean business, and Falcon Private Bank, have been ordered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to leave the Asian city state in connection with transactions involving 1MDB, the Malaysian state-run fund. (The fund is accused of being used by Malaysian politicians and others for personal financial gain. 1MDB is currently the subject of money laundering probes in at least six countries including the US, Singapore, Switzerland and, most recently, Australia.)

The TEL modules will be made available to all industry participants such as private bankers and compliance and audit professionals in the wealth management sector. When a person completes the training course, it counts towards the Client Advisory Competency Standards Continuing Professional Development hours.

The programme will also commission papers relat=vant to tackling illicit money risks that wealth managers face, and build up a library of case studies. The work will be featured in a "knowledge centre" microsite, as well as be run alongside guides to best practice in these fields, thought leadership articles, interviews, videos and recommended books.

Another feature will be forums for senior compliance decision makers, featuring international AML thought leaders.

WMI has formed an expert panel of international specialists with deep AML expertise in relation to the financial sectors of Singapore, Switzerland, US, UK and Australia. The panel is chaired by Jonathan Shih, head of compliance and operational risk control, UBS Wealth Management, and global head of financial crime. The other expert panellists include:

David James, HMRC Fiscal Crime Liaison Officer, British High Commission, Singapore; Ian Wong, deputy director for financial investigation, CAD; Jon Page, head of business consulting, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence; Larry Lam, managing director, McGuire Asia; and Lem Chin Kok, Head of Forensic, KPMG Singapore

The programme is supported by The Association of Banks in Singapore and IBF, and is designed to fit with drives by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to improve standards across the industry.

In April the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department signed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Industry Partnership (ACIP).


Nick Kalikajaros 2017