Vienna, 9 May 2023 - The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held its annual Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF) on 8th and 9th May 2023 in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This was the first PSCF since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PSCF is a unique platform for the FATF and its members to engage directly with the private sector and civil society, and deepen partnerships in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF President T. Raja Kumar oversaw the two-day event, which brought together over 250 representatives from the financial sector, non-financial businesses and professions, civil society, academia, FATF members and other stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, FATF President T. Raja Kumar reiterated the importance of the private sector’s participation in FATF’s work, given the need to adopt a “Whole-of-Society” approach in fighting financial crime. His remarks were echoed by Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance Director-General for Economic Policy, Financial Markets and Customs, Harald Waiglein, who added that robust public-private sector dialogue and collaboration were necessary to fight illicit crime. UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly emphasized that the mandate of the UNODC and FATF were complementary, and collective work is needed to tackle financial crime – and in particular to take the profit out of crime.
The UN Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, delivered a keynote address on the second day of the Forum. She highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue with the non-profit community and proper implementation of the risk-based approach with due regard to human rights and procedural rights while implementing counter-terrorism measures.
Throughout this event, participants shared their perspectives on the evolving financial crime landscape, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed various policy and operational responses to both current and emerging risks. Participants also agreed on the importance of deepening public-private partnerships in the fight against illicit finance and learnt more about the key aspects of the next round of FATF mutual evaluations, which will begin next year.
The PSCF also provided an opportunity for the FATF to share and discuss preliminary findings of its ongoing projects with private sector stakeholders, academia and civil society. This included forthcoming updates to the FATF best practices paper on preventing the abuse of non-profit organisations for terrorist financing and potential revisions to FATF Recommendation 8, and other projects such as the illicit funding from cyber-enabled fraud and misuse of citizenship by investment schemes. In addition, thematic discussions focused on payment transparency and digital transformation, including the use of SupTech for supervisory purposes and RegTech for more effective and efficient compliance by the private sector. Participants also discussed recent revisions to FATF Standards relating to transparency of beneficial ownership and their implications for the private sector, to ensure that these strengthened measures are effective in preventing criminals from hiding their illicit activities and assets behind shell companies, trusts and other legal persons and arrangements.
In his closing remarks, the FATF President stressed that there are no short-term solutions in the fight against financial crime, and the global community cannot fight organised crime without being highly organised itself. “We must also adopt a long-term perspective by consistently building and strengthening the collaborative networks between the public and private sectors, which need to be stronger than those of criminal networks."
The valuable insights gained from the discussions over the last two days will help shape FATF’s ongoing and future work and will be discussed further at the upcoming FATF Plenary in Paris in June 2023.
On behalf of all participants, the FATF expresses its gratitude to the UNODC for hosting the 2023 PSCF at the United Nations Office in Vienna.