Money laundering reporting officers should exercise sufficient authority and be able to make their own decisions without any pressure being put on them, the financial services watchdog says in a guidance paper.
The Malta Financial Services Authority insists that a person appointed as MLRO should have sufficient authority to carry out his/her duties effectively. “Crucially, MLROs are to be free to make their own determination as to whether there is a need or otherwise to file an STR [suspicious transaction report] with the FIAU [Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit].
“There should be no attempt, be it internal or external, to exercise pressure on the MLRO or otherwise influence any decision with regards to how to proceed with respect to any suspicion of ML/FT [money laundering/financing of terrorism],” it notes in the guidance paper.
The Regulator also insists that MLROs should have sufficient time to do their work and are provided with the necessary human and technological resources to carry out such duties effectively.
Dedication, honesty and integrity are fundamental traits for a person occupying such a position, it said, adding they should be free from any conflict of interest, whether pecuniary or otherwise.
The MFSA said MLROs play a key role in protecting the integrity of the financial system and hold an extremely important position within a business.