FICA compliance is more than a checklist

Knowing your client is a fundamental part of the due diligence required by the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act (FICAA). The FICAA requires you to identify and verify your clients before you enter into a business relationship or undertake a single transaction. This process goes far beyond just an ID book and proof of address, meaning a simple FICA checklist approach won’t cut the mustard when it comes to ensuring FICA compliance.

New Anti-Corruption Advisory Council tasked with fighting financial crimes

With corruption being one of the greatest hurdles for South Africa’s growth and development, it is clear that decisive action was needed. During the state of the nation address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment of an independent National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council.

Ultimate Beneficial Owners – Finding needles in haystacks

The concept of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) exists to counter the practice of using complex structures or legal persons to conceal true ownership. A UBO is effectively, the person/s at the top of the tree – who have ultimate benefit from, or ultimate control of an entity and its operations.

What happens when a FIC inspector calls

Accountable and Reportable Institutions are subject to inspection to assess their level of compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA). These inspections are carried out by the FIC or a supervisory body and result in a written outcome or report confirming their findings.

FICA vs. Legal Profession Confidentiality

Often in the legal profession, client-attorney confidentiality is what puts clients at ease. However, when it comes to FICA, the legal profession confidentiality becomes a contentious topic with many attorneys feeling uncomfortable as to what they should do if they pick up suspicious behaviour or information.

Identifying product & service risks of the legal profession

A risk-based approach should be no different for the legal profession as the services of legal practitioners are varied and whilst product and service alone would not necessarily result in a client being assessed as higher risk, it should be considered as a part of the overall risk assessment.

The Future of FIC is Fusion

As criminals continue to look for more inventive ways to evade detection, the effectiveness and approach of legal and institutional frameworks will also continue to improve to identify, investigate and prosecute those who seek to benefit from the proceeds of crimes.

The FIC 2019/2020 Report

Accountable and Reportable Institutions are required to report suspicious transactions and activities, as well as cash transactions over R24,999 in compliance with the FIC Act. The report tallies the amount of suspicious transactions reported by industry.

FIC Registrations increase

According to the 2019/2020 FIC annual report, the largest proportion of registered entities are attorneys (35%), estate agents (24%) and financial advisors/intermediaries (19%). These sectors were also key in driving the increase of registrations.