Article and photos contributed by Tan Chuan Yi, Officer, Special Projects Department, Bar Council Secretariat
Bar Council Malaysia and Bank Negara Malaysia ("BNM") jointly organised the Joint National Anti–Money Laundering & Counter Financing of Terrorism ("AML/CFT") Conference 2019 recently, themed "Building AML/CFT Compliance Effectiveness: Risks and Challenges". The conference was held on 29 Aug 2019 at Sasana Kijang, BNM, Kuala Lumpur.
The conference aimed to, among others, improve the ability of a law firm to devise an appropriate AML/CFT compliance programme and strengthen the compliance culture of reporting institutions, particularly the legal sector. The turnout of over 370 attendees included guests of honour, distinguished speakers and moderators, 140 Members of the Bar, and participants from various sectors.
Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, President of the Malaysian Bar, delivering his opening address.
In his opening address, Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, President of the Malaysian Bar thanked BNM for its cooperation and assistance in co–hosting the conference. He stated that the Bar Council looks forward to a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with BNM, as both parties share the common goal of combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid, Assistant Governor of BNM, echoed this sentiment in his keynote address.
A total of nine speakers delivered presentations during four intellectually stimulating and engaging plenary sessions, namely:
(1) Overcoming compliance challenges –– building an effective AML/CFT compliance for an organisation
The topics included Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") recommendations applicable to legal practitioners, and mitigating challenges through the application of a risk–based approach.
(2) AML/CFT compliance and client confidentiality
The topics included the definition of confidentiality/privileged information –– applicability of legal professional privilege and professional secrecy, and suspicious transaction report ("STR") reporting mechanism.
(3) AML/CFT compliance: Do you know your clients?
The topics included challenges in conducting customer due diligence ("CDD"); enhanced due diligence and ongoing due diligence; practices and practical issues; and customer profile vs client account.
(4) Recent money laundering and terrorist financing ("ML/TF") cases
The topics included conveyancing, formation of companies, and handling of client monies.
The speakers also methodically addressed questions raised by the audience, providing practical solutions to solve challenges faced and avoid the risks of non–compliance.
Andrew Khoo Chin Hock (Co–Chairperson, Bar Council Trade in Legal Services Committee) (left) delivering his presentation. With him are co–speaker, Yeoh Lian Chuan (Vice–Chairperson, Anti–Money Laundering Committee, The Law Society of Singapore) (middle), and the moderator, Dr Sarah Azlina Che Rohim (Deputy Director, BNM) (right).
From left to right: Yeoh Lian Chuan, Syed Fadhil Hanafi b Syed A Rahman (Senior Legal Counsel, BNM), and the moderator of Plenary Session 2, R Jayabalan (Chairperson, Bar Council Small Firms Practice Committee).
The moderator of Plenary Session 3, Karen Cheah Yee Lynn (Chairperson, Bar Council Corporate and Commercial Law Committee) (right), speaking to the audience. The speakers with her are (from left to right): Irene Tan Li Ching (Head of Conduct, Financial Crime & Compliance, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad; Deputy Chair, Compliance Officers' Networking Group), Faradina Ghouse (Group Chief Compliance Officer, AmBank Group), and Balbir Singh (Member of the Bar).
From left to right: Ahmad Shahran b Shafiae (Deputy Director, Anti–Money Laundering Division, Special Task Department, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia), Assistant Commissioner Shuhaimi b Man (Head of Operation Target Centre, Anti–Money Laundering Division, Malaysian Anti–Corruption Commission), Superintendent Foo Wei Min (Division Head of Special Investigation, International Network Anti–Money Laundering (AMLA), Royal Malaysia Police), and Nur Shareena Rosli (Senior Financial Investigator, BNM).
Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab, Co–Chairperson of the Bar Council AMLA Subcommittee of the Legal Profession Committee brought down the curtain on the Conference. In his closing address, he expressed the hope for increased awareness among legal practitioners of the AML/CFT regime, and the importance of compliance. He also seized the opportunity to invite attendees to participate in the International Malaysia Law Conference ("IMLC") 2020, themed "Navigating the Present, Exploring the Future", which will be held from 12 to 14 Aug 2020.
Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab delivering his closing address.
Additional reporting contributed by Ariff Erzanie Ramli, Executive Officer, Continuing Professional Development Department, Bar Council Secretariat.