February 04,2017

Key Financial Compliance Minds Unite At MENA FCCG’s Second Meeting

The MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group (MENA FCCG) held its biannual meeting in February 2017 at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. This private event is of great significance to the region’s banking sector as it united the strategic compliance members of the group, regulatory representatives from the region, with the added honor of guests such as Mr. Hans-Peter Bauer, Member of the Board Basel Institute on Governance and former Chairman of the Wolfsberg Group, and Dr. Jonathan Brewer, Professor at King’s College London, and former Financial Expert on the UN Panel on Iran, based in New York.


The MENA FCCG is an industry-driven, voluntary initiative, currently consisting of 12 leading financial institutions from various Arab countries. The Group is chaired by the Secretary General of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB), Mr. Wissam H. Fattouh and includes Thomson Reuters as technical advisor. Amidst the group’s objectives is to raise confidence in MENA financial sectors by sharing best practices that help overcome challenges local institutions face, and by sowing strong relations with international agencies and regulators.


Continuing to act as a think tank for financial crime, the group Deputy Chair Mr. Michael Matossian announced the group’s ambitious 2017 calendar of initiatives. Already in effect, the MENA FCCG launched in January a complimentary webinar on “Common Reporting Standards” (CRS), which received overwhelming praise for presenting a practical understanding on how to prepare for CRS and for enlisting actionable steps in ensuring CRS compliance. During April, a second webinar is scheduled on “Navigating the Changing Sanctions Regimes Iran & Sudan”.  In addition, planned publications include a white paper on “Enhancing Culture of Ethics & Compliance”, an article on “The Role of Banks in Combating Financing of Nuclear Proliferation” and, in alliance with the UAB, a comprehensive survey of “MENA Banks on Combating Financial Crime”.


According to the group’s Chair, Mr. Fattouh, MENA FCCG’s alliance with the UAB fills the liaison gap between Banks, local Central Banks, Associations of Banks, and other international organizations, such as FATF, IMF, OECD, etc. Building this bridge, the group’s strategy and efforts will concentrate on the global community; increasing awareness that organizations of this region understand their concerns and are working together to ensure that MENA remains a secure place to do business.