International Compliance Association continues its pursuit of global best practice in an exciting new partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

19 June 2018

The International Compliance Association (ICA) is proud to partner with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (‘EBRD’ or ‘Bank’) on a number of initiatives in its pursuit of global best practice in trade based financial crime compliance.

According to an international member survey undertaken by the Banking Commission of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) in 2015, 70% of the participating banks reported that they had declined trade finance transactions due to the KYC and AML regulations, with 46% of respondents reporting experiencing termination of correspondent relationships due to related costs and complexities. In addition, 91% of respondents expected compliance requirements to increase over the next year. 53% of respondents considered the lack of compliance harmonisation between jurisdictions a great challenge to the trade finance industry. This reflects the widespread difficulties posed by different legal and regulatory requirements, which multiplies both the cost and complexity of compliance.

To address these challenges, and for the first time in the history of the ICA and EBRD, two institutions will be jointly funding scholarships for two qualifications that will be offered to EBRD’s partner banks: the ICA Certificate in Know Your Customer (KYC)/Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and the ICA Specialist Certificate in Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML). To ensure wider awareness of the international financial crime compliance practices among state authorities, the training will also be offered to the Central Banks in selected countries of operations.

The ICA and EBRD jointly-funded qualifications are designed to achieve educational excellence in the areas of KYC/CDD and AML by fostering a holistic approach, with additional blended learning making it tailored for the specific needs of the target audience operating within 120 EBRD partner banks.

The ICA is dedicated to the commitment of the highest standards of practice and conduct, ensuring the enhancement of the professionalisation of compliance. ICA is committed to increasing the knowledge and skills of compliance professionals across the globe. As part of this ethos, ICA provides knowledge, guidance, information and practical skills as part of an ongoing strategy to constantly improve business performance. In doing this, ICA maintains global partnerships with regulators, firms and local compliance associations.

The EBRD is an international financial institution established under international law pursuant to the Agreement Establishing the Bank dated on 29 May 1990, to foster transition towards open market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in Central and Eastern European countries, Central Asia, Mongolia and in member countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. It has since played a historic role and gained unique expertise in fostering change in the region and beyond. EBRD is a pioneer FI and a leader in the trade finance in its countries of operation; the Bank recognises the importance of promoting an awareness of risks in trade finance transactions and ensuring harmonisation of the compliance standards and requirements, inter alia, on enhanced customer due diligence in its countries of operation. This is crucial in allowing partner banks to minimise compliance costs and, therefore, to promote a greater number of trade finance transactions in the Bank’s region.

Over the last two decades the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) has gained recognition and appreciation from the industry and from its clients. TFP created a professional network to deliver advanced trade finance trainings, which starting from this year, including compliance trainings. TFP projects and products play a key role in supporting the growth trade finance and accessibility to finance for the small- and medium-sized firms which are so crucial to job creation, in addition to helping create greater equality of opportunity across societies. They have supported over 22,000 transactions, totalling almost €16 billion, and the demand for TFP facilities is increasing every year. The TFP family consists of more than 800 confirming banks in 88 countries and over 100 issuing banks in 27 countries.

Kamola Makhmudova, Senior Banker at EBRD, stated ‘We would like thank ICA for joining forces with the EBRD to bring the best international practice in compliance to the economies where we invest. We are very excited to offer EBRD partner banks this unique opportunity to train their trade finance staff in compliance to the standards of leading international banks. These qualifications will be another step closer to removing trade barriers and facilitating trade between EBRD countries of operations, helping them establish correspondent connections with wider networks around the world'.

Bill Howarth, ICA President, replied ‘We are excited to be working with another like-minded entity that aligns with our vision for the professionalisation of compliance. Enhancing the knowledge and skills of regulatory and financial crime compliance professionals in developing economies is an ongoing area of priority for us. We’re looking to working with EBRD to empower these professionals to perform to the highest standards and to be able to fight financial crime more effectively. Alongside this, we are delighted with the recent appointment of Kamola Makhmudova to the ICA Technical Board. We are anticipating a positive collaboration that helps us shape the future of compliance for all professionals, globally’.

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