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AfricaMoney | August 24, 2017

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Money laundering remains Mauritian insurance sector priority issue

Money laundering remains Mauritian insurance sector priority issue

Financial institutions should put in place systems and policies to protect themselves from financial crime, according to BLC Chambers Senior Counsel and Managing Partner Iqbal Rajahbalee. (Image: Cecilia Samoisi, AfricaMoney)

Stakeholders of the Mauritian insurance sector witnessed a full-day training workshop on AML/CFT for the insurance sector and pension funds.

Focused on financial crime, the training workshop was organised by the Mauritius’ leading law firm, BLC Chambers, on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at the Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebène.

As the insurance sector is prone to money laundering and financing of terrorism as other areas of the financial industry, the aim of this training workshop was to assist stakeholders of the industry in identifying the underlying issues and how they can deal with them.

In his opening speech, BLC Chambers Senior Counsel and Managing Partner Iqbal Rajahbalee said that it is important to be aware of the risks impacted on a company particularly concerning financial crime and money laundering.

He stated that institutions must share responsibilities among the players to fight against money laundering.

“The auditor or the actuary of all issuer shall inform and submit a report to the FSC as soon as he becomes aware or has reasons to believe that the policy is inadequate or lacking,” Iqbal Rajahbalee said.

According to him, financial institutions should put in place systems and policies to protect themselves from financial crime and there must be a balance between licensees and regulators in order to obtain a proper assistance from financial regulators.

Additionally, he said that failure to take measures in ensuring that money laundering or finance of terrorism is not facilitated may lead to 10 years of imprisonment and fine.

David Hotte, Senior Consultant in Financial Crime at BLC Chambers, said that there is a problem once a company’s reputation is touched, and he cited two financial scandals, namely Enron in the energy industry and Ponzi schemes in the financial sector.

“From a commercial point of view, a company needs to acquire the right of the customer, customer development, and customer retention,” he said.

He also mentioned some measures to deter money laundering: appoint a senior executive as principal officer with adequate authority and resources at his command; make a report to the Board on the operation and effectiveness of systems and control; screening of employees before hiring and those who have access to sensitive information; and give the appropriate quality training to staff.

David Hotte pointed out that the position of people who work in the Mauritian banking system is moving faster rather than those working in the insurance sector.

Finally, CEO at Financial Commission Mauritius Clairette Ah-Hen, talked about the effective customer risk assessment.

“It is much better to present the risk profile for licensees in the outset rather than to take time,” she stated.

Ultimately, she concluded on the point that the insurance sector remains possible targets for money laundering.

- By Marie-Lorry Coret and Cecilia Samoisi

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