Established in 1995, the Egmont Group is an international network of 166 financial intelligence units (FIUs) that works to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing by promoting information sharing and inter-organisation cooperation. As part of that goal, the group seeks to improve FIUs’ understanding of money laundering and terrorism financing, and inform government policy through operational experience. The Egmont Group states that financial intelligence should be “the cornerstone” of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) standards.
In July 2022, the Egmont Group released its Strategic Plan 2022-2027, which seeks to position the Group “at the heart of a more efficient and effective global AML/CFT ecosystem”. The Plan outlines four Thematic Areas of Action (TAAs), which represent “the framework through which the Egmont Group’s activities will be coordinated over the next five years”. Accordingly, each TAA includes Strategic Goals, which are aligned with the Group’s AML/CFT objectives, namely:
- Facilitating information sharing between international FIUs
- Enabling cooperation between FIUs in order to increase their effectiveness
The Egmont Group wants each member FIU “regardless of its size or maturity” to commit to the Strategic Plan in order to maximise their contribution to the network, and collectively enhance global AML/CFT standards. With that in mind, we’ve identified 4 key takeaways from the Strategic Plan:
TAA 1: Enhance the framework for effective information exchange between FIUs
Key takeaway: FIUs must use their unique position within the global AML/CFT framework to strengthen information sharing processes and better manage emerging criminal threats.
The Egmont Group points out that its members’ AML/CFT strengths are derived from their “unique position” in the international AML/CFT framework which allows them to take advantage of financial intelligence such as suspicious activity reports (SAR) and suspicious transaction reports (STR). With that in mind, the Egmont Group will aim to “act as an enabler” for FIUs to share information “bilaterally and multilaterally” so that they can better maintain AML/CFT standards.
In delivering this TAA, the Egmont Group will promote international FIU cooperation, facilitate financial intelligence analysis, increase awareness of its mandate and desired outcomes, and ensure that FIUs are using their financial intelligence products effectively. The Plan’s focus on sharing intelligence and on financial intelligence products reflects the increasing regulatory complexity of the data landscape, and the need for closer cooperation in the face of sophisticated criminal methodologies. Many global jurisdictions have already developed their own information sharing initiatives, such as the FCA’s synthetic data trial in 2022, and the US government’s recent call for the development of “appropriate frameworks for information sharing” between financial institutions.
TAA 2: Strengthen cooperation with international partner organisations
Key takeaway: Enhancing and expanding engagement with international partners is vital to maximising outcomes for FIUs in the fight against financial crime.
The Egmont Group works with a wide range of international partners to bring its insight and intelligence to bear on AML/CFT policy and, ultimately, optimise financial crime outcomes. The Group’s international partners include global regulatory organisations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), world governments, academic institutions, and numerous entities in the private sector.
Accordingly, the Strategic Plan sets out a requirement to both strengthen the Egmont Group’s existing partnerships and create new partnerships with other key stakeholders in the financial community – including “non-traditional’ partners” that can help the Group manage “future vulnerabilities and threats”. The Plan specifically emphasises the need to deepen the existing relationship with the FATF without diminishing the Egmont Group’s own “distinct purpose and identity”.
TAA 3: Develop and promote knowledge of new or emerging AML/CFT methods and trends, good practices, and Egmont Group requirements
Key takeaway: Implementing the latest AML/CFT methods and international good practices will help FIUs respond to threats faster and more effectively.
The third TAA represents a commitment from the Egmont Group to enhance its own unique position in the “AML/CFT ecosystem” in order to identify future financial crime threats and support “fast and flexible cooperation” between FIUs. The Group states that by continuing to deliver high quality insight, its members and stakeholders will be able to respond to money laundering and terrorism financing threats faster, and prevent and detect crime “at scale”.
The Strategic Goals for this TAA include helping FIU members apply AML/CFT good practices, being proactive in identifying emerging money laundering and terrorism financing threats, and promoting compliance with international AML/CFT standards. The Egmont Group also reiterates the importance of cooperation and engagement with the FATF to ensure AML/CFT standards are implemented effectively across the world.
TAA 4: Enhance support to Group members and candidate FIUs
Key takeaway: The Egmont Group will continue to expand its global reach to ensure FIUs maximise their AML/CFT impact regardless of their size or capability.
A trusted, respected international organisation, the Egmont Group will build on its progress to date with a commitment to support both existing members and candidate FIUs. This TAA involves a focus on shared strategic goals, and on ensuring that every FIU “has a voice within the Group” in order to maximise engagement, collaborative potential and operational effectiveness. Key to the TAA is the “active participation” of each member FIU, regardless of its access to AML/CFT resources or its level of maturity.
To deliver on the fourth TAA, the Egmont Group will support FIUs’ national and international initiatives, including fostering regional projects and prioritising technology enhancements. The Group will encourage FIU development by sharing best practices, fostering inter-agency trust, and enhancing access to the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL). Reflecting the desire to focus on candidate members, the Egmont Group will place a particular emphasis on engaging with FIUs from Africa and Asia, both of which have comparatively low membership levels.
How Technology can help FIUs with AML Compliance
The Strategic Plan calls for a consolidation and strengthening of the Egmont Group, and its role, on the global AML/CFT landscape. However, with 166 member FIUs, and aspirations to expand, the Egmont Group’s information sharing mission requires a high degree of coordination and, crucially, the integration of technologies capable of distributing and searching data sets with speed and accuracy.
With that in mind, Ripjar’s Labyrinth Screening platform offers significant advantages for firms seeking to apply the information sharing best practices that the Egmont Group promotes. Labyrinth Screening gives firms the power to share, collect, and analyse vital AML/CFT data in real time, across thousands of data sources, in over 20 languages. Powered by cutting-edge machine learning technology, Labyrinth delivers actionable intelligence from structured and unstructured data, speeding up and streamlining information sharing processes in an increasingly complex regulatory landscape.