Premier and Finance Minister David Burt launched major “national campaign” this week, “calling on everyone in Bermuda to join in the continuing national efforts to combat global financial crime”.
The ‘Just Good Business’ campaign by government, responsible authorities, and Bermuda-based international and local businesses, is designed to ensure the island meets the highest standards for anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorist-financing (ATF).
“It is really about our ability to be a robust and credible jurisdiction in which to do good business,” said the Premier.
The joint Government and Bermuda-based business sector initiative is designed “to ensure Bermuda meets the highest standards for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist-financing and is effective in its work to fight unacceptable crimes”.
“This means having a strong framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and ensuring that we enforce the rules,” Mr Burt said.
“Reinforcing a strong framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing is of critical importance to Bermuda’s economic future,” the Premier told a news conference at the Cabinet Office on Wednesday, January 30.
“We encourage everyone to join this effort to retain Bermuda’s outstanding reputation.
“Bermuda is focused on strengthening its effectiveness in combatting Money Laundering, because it’s vital for maintaining our sterling international reputation.
“In order to keep it, we must be in compliance with global standards,” he said.
“As I have stated on many occasions, this is not a jurisdiction in which to hide money and we are determined to play our part in this critical and global fight.
“I therefore encourage you to also do what you can to ensure that Bermuda remains a good place to do good business.”
He was joined by representatives of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC), the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), and Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), as well as from numerous major industry groups supporting the campaign.
Supporting groups included the Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC), the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR), the Bermuda Bankers Association (BBA), the Association of Bermuda International Long Term Insurers & Reinsurers (BILTIR), Bermuda Insurance Management Association (BIMA), and Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.
“A major part of Bermuda’s success as an international financial centre can be attributed to the strong commitment at all levels in the public and private sectors to ensuring our jurisdiction’s quality reputation is protected,” said NAMLC Chair Cheryl-Ann Lister.
“This campaign is itself an example of that collaborative partnership,” she added.
A spokesperson said: “The campaign asks businesses and individuals to fulfill their legal obligation to complete and submit documentation required by financial entities such as local banks to satisfy international standards.”
BMA CEO Jeremy Cox noted that for more than a decade, the Authority “has focused on reinforcing its AML and ATF framework”.
“We believe it is essential for Bermuda to have a world-class AML/ATF regime in order to maintain its reputation as a leading international financial services centre,” he said.
The “call to action” encourages “individuals and organisations”, “to find out what their legal obligations are and to report suspicious financial activity”, which “authorities depend on”. This information is known as”SARs, or suspicious activity reports”.
The campaign comes at a time “when Bermuda will be assessed by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for its effectiveness in preventing and enforcing measures to combat financial crime”.
A team of CFATF assessors will be in Bermuda in September to meet with NAMLC agencies and the private sector to gather data.
During the course of the year you will see or hear advertisements on the “radio, buses, and social media, as well as a video, pens and stickers”. And “the voice of the campaign on the radio and video is Bermudian musician John Woolridge of Just Platinum”.
“Bermuda has long been a centre of excellence for compliance and transparency – a positive differentiator,” said BDA CEO Ross Webber. “We will continue to work collaboratively to maintain that world-class reputation.”
Premier Burt also thanked industry representatives for supporting the initiative, “for driving this initiative, to international business associations and the corporate sector for supporting it”.
“You are working to demonstrate that the way we do business in Bermuda is through transparency, compliance and cooperation.
“As I have stated on many occasions, Bermuda is not a jurisdiction in which to hide money and we are determined to play our part in this critical and global fight. I therefore encourage you to also do what you can to ensure that Bermuda remains a good place to do good business.
But he said: “You need to understand your obligations to report suspicious financial activity you encounter and then follow-through by appropriately providing such reports (SARS)… and the authorities depend on all of us to play our part to draw attention to these behaviours.
“To file a confidential Suspicious Activity Report, contact the Financial Intelligence Agency at 292-3422 or visit their website at www.fla.bm. The team there will be pleased to guide you on what is required.”
He described the campaign, as “a genuine public-private partnership”.
“It should be highlighted that a big part of Bermuda’s success as an international financial centre can be attributed to the strong commitment at all levels of the public and private sectors to ensure our jurisdiction’s quality reputation is protected. This campaign is indicative of that partnership.”
A website was also launched this week, www.goodbusiness.bm, which contains “a great deal of useful and important information on these matters”.
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