Consultation platform against money laundering officially launched

18 June 2021 - 6 min Reading time

Febelfin's call for more cooperation between private and public stakeholders in the fight against money laundering (AML) leads to results: the AML consultation platform where partners Assuralia, CFI, Febelfin, FSMA, NBB and the Treasury can exchange information and react quickly to play officially starts today.

Information exchange


The public-private platform is part of the broad objective of tackling the fight against money laundering with as many parties as possible. Because efficient and systematic information exchange is essential. What are the new trends according to the anti-money laundering cell? What new developments do the banks see? What new methods are criminal organizations using? In which countries are new front companies being established? In order to better map out the answers to these questions, Febelfin launched a call to set up such a platform in November 2020 during the parliamentary hearing on the FinCen Files. And that call was followed.




The platform has several objectives. The most important are on the one hand exchanging information and expertise on developments, trends, new risks, mechanisms and typologies regarding AML/CFTP that are observed nationally, European and internationally and on the other hand proposing guidelines and providing feedback on the application of the legal AML/CFTP obligations – in particular on detecting and reporting suspicious transactions.

Examples from our neighboring countries show that such an approach pays off. In the United Kingdom, for example, more than £56 million was seized and 5,000 suspicious accounts were detected thanks to targeted cooperation between banks, prosecutors, regulators and law enforcement.

Just as police officers need a partner to track down criminals, banks also need partners in the fight against financial crime. And this platform fits in perfectly with this wish of the sector. We look forward to working with stakeholders to add a new dimension to the fight against money laundering.
Karel Baert, CEO Febelfin

Vincent Van Peteghem, Minister of Finance, responsible for the Coordination of the Fight against Fraud: “The fight against financial crimes, just like the fight against fiscal and social fraud, requires cooperation in which both the government services involved and representatives of the financial sector share their knowledge and skills. I am therefore very pleased that today with this protocol we are taking an important step towards more cooperation for a decisive fight against money laundering and criminal financing.”


Banks fight against financial fraud


The fight against financial fraud is of course not new. After all, financial institutions in no way want to facilitate money laundering or indirectly participate in the financing of terrorism. That is why they invest heavily in personnel and infrastructure and closely follow the relevant legislation. But what efforts are banks making in this battle? Read it in the storytelling.


Screening and monitoring


When screening new customers and in the permanent monitoring of financial transactions, banks do everything they can to detect and prevent fraudulent practices. The assessment of a potential customer does not end after checking the identity card, but goes much further. The relationship with the customer is fully in line with the obligations of anti-money laundering legislation. In addition, continuous vigilance is the rule for all relationships and transactions that pass through the bank.


Investments in additional staff


It is not only the bank's compliance services – where more than 1,600 employees are daily involved in the concrete follow-up of legal obligations – that are actively combating money laundering. All services, at all levels and above all the employees who are in direct contact with customers, are involved in the battle. In addition, 61% of the banks foresee additional investments for the recruitment of additional staff to step up this battle and almost all financial institutions organize specific refresher courses. In 2019, 89% of all bank employees in Belgium had participated in at least one specific AML training.


Investments in infrastructure


Investments are also considerable in terms of infrastructure. In addition to resources for personnel, more than 93 million euros went to investments in AML and compliance departments in 2019 to automate the onboarding, screenings and monitoring of transactions. In the meantime, 95% of the screening processes are automated.

The numbers of the CFI show that the efforts of the banks are paying off: by reporting 17,678 suspicious transactions, the banks contributed to the creation of 55% of the money laundering files submitted to the court in 2020. were transferred.

The fact that these efforts are supplemented by a new partnership with other private organizations and governments is another step in the right direction. After all, the fight against financial fraud is comparable to putting together a very difficult puzzle. All stakeholders have certain pieces, but it only becomes really interesting when we put all the pieces together so that we can see the bigger picture faster and intervene where necessary with appropriate resources. This way we can stop criminal organizations and optimally serve society & its citizens.