UAE’s Executive Office of AML/CFT hosts 2nd National Risk Assessment workshop

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
  • Follow author on
EO AMLCTF 2nd National Risk Assessment workshop

The UAE Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (EO AML/CFT) has begun the second workshop of the UAE’s 2022/23 Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA) in collaboration with the World Bank Group.

Over this week, all relevant UAE authorities discussed, identified and evaluated Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) risks as part of a comprehensive process aimed at formulating effective mitigation policies and procedures.

Mr. Hamid AlZaabi, Director General of the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing, emphasized the critical role of the NRA in empowering the UAE’s public and private sector partners by enhancing their understanding of the country’s inherent ML/TF risks.

Hamid Al Zaabi_2nd National Risk Assessment workshop
Hamid Al Zaabi

“The UAE acknowledges the paramount importance of assessing ML/TF risks to combat financial crime and strengthen our national system. National strategies and policy decisions must be supported by comprehensive risk assessments, providing a foundation for the effective implementation of FATF Recommendations. Our commitment to adopting the World Bank Group methodology underpins this endeavor.”

The workshop saw participation from all stakeholders, including the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Emirate-level police commands, federal Public Prosecution, the Federal Authority of Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP), UAE Central Bank, financial free zones, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and all corporate registrars in the mainland, commercial, and financial free zones. The delegation from the World Bank Group was led by Mr. Kuntay Celik, Senior Financial Sector Specialist.

This event marked the second workshop in a series of three planned for the UAE NRA and was organized jointly by the World Bank Group and the UAE Executive Office of AML/CFT.

The workshop agenda included stocktaking of the latest progress, a review of risk assessment results and findings, and feedback sessions from specialist working groups covering the following areas;

  • ML Threats – Including threats to sectors.
  • TF Threats – Including threats to sectors.
  • National Vulnerabilities (ML and TF)
  • ML/TF Vulnerabilities and Risks of Banks
  • ML/TF Vulnerabilities and Risks of Other Financial Institutions
  • ML/TF Vulnerabilities and Risks of DNFBPs
  • ML/TF Vulnerabilities and Risks of Legal Persons
  • TF Vulnerabilities and Risks of NPOs
  • Breakout sessions
  • Road Map and milestone for the completion of the NRA

The working groups reviewed all relevant data, statistics, research, and other background materials to underpin and justify their assessments and ratings, ensuring a comprehensive and robust evaluation.

The first workshop, held in Abu Dhabi in November 2022, provided extensive training to UAE authorities on the World Bank Group methodology and toolkit.

Over the past decade, the World Bank’s NRA Toolkit has been successfully utilized by more than 100 jurisdictions in leading their own risk assessments and designing action plans for more effective AML/CFT policies and practices.

The current 2022-23 NRA aims to update an early assessment completed in 2021. Up to twenty further workshops are planned to finalize the NRA and guide the working groups in developing risk-based strategies, policies, and action plans.

Related: Executive Office of AML/CTF becomes UAE’s 1st ‘Born in Cloud’ entity