While Europe has some of the world’s toughest rules against money laundering, we need to strengthen supervision and enforcement, including across borders.

Valdis Dombrovskis
Valdis DombrovskisExecutive Vice-President of the European Commission

If high-quality, transparent information is shared, then we can detect the tainted money in the global financial system. The changes need to happen now.

Xiangmin Liu
Xiangmin LiuFATF President

Financial crime refers to the misuse of the financial system, corruption, terrorism financing and the evasion of international sanctions. More specifically, money laundering is the process of transforming dirty money into ostensibly legitimate assets that can be used for consumption, i.e. to introduce dirty money in the official financial system.

However, it is much more than white-collar crime. It is often connected to organised crime gangs and other threats, which include counterfeiting and smuggling, illegal drugs crime and, human trafficking. Fighting financial crime and money laundering consists of cutting resources to criminals, organised crime gangs and terrorists. Money laundering and terrorist financing are severe threats to global security, to the soundness and stability of financial institutions, and to the integrity of the financial system.

Anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) aim to protect the integrity and stability of the international financial system, cutting off the resources available to terrorists, and making it more difficult for those engaged in crime to profit from their criminal activities. AML/CFT programmes give the relevant regulators and police the powers and tools to investigate and share information as appropriate. They require financial institutions and other regulated entities such as legal and accounting firms to identify their customers, establish risk-based controls, and make suspicious transactions and activities reports (STRs/SARs) to Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard-setter for measures to combat money laundering. The FATF’s standards (the FATF Recommendations) are applied by over 180 countries, through a global network of regional bodies affiliated to the FATF. They are translated in EU Law based on the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).

Over recent years, recurrent money laundering scandals have made the headlines. It has become apparent that money laundering issues may rapidly become prudential issues which may affect the viability of a bank and the stability of the banking sector. They have also evidenced the ineffectiveness of the existing EU AML/CFT framework.

Our priority areas

The EBF has made its own assessment of the EU AML/CFT framework and has identified four priority areas where ineffectiveness urgently needs to be addressed:

  • regulatory fragmentation
  • supervisory fragmentation
  • insufficient cooperation between the actors of the AML ecosystem
  • lack of appropriate tools and suboptimal use of technologies
To address these challenges, the EU should aim to:
  • HARMONISE the EU regulatory framework, focusing on a clarification of the Risk-Based Approach and modernisation and standardisation of the KYC policy;
  • EMPOWER the relevant EU bodies to fight financial crime, enhancing further the role of the European Banking Authority (EBA) as a rule-setter and ensuring better EU coordination of AML/CFT supervisors;
  • COOPERATE more efficiently by enhancing information sharing between all actors in the AML/CFT ecosystem;
  • BE SMARTER than criminals by deploying effective tools and exploiting new technologies.

The EBF published in March 2020 a Blueprint in which a set of twenty recommendations are put forward based on the four above priorities

AML rulebook
Risk-based approach
KYC rules

EBF Recommendations

AML supervisors &
bodies

EBF Recommendationsx

AML tools &
technologies

EBF Recommendationsi

Information sharing to
fight financial crime

EBF Recommendationsa

Partnerships & coalitions

EBF is member of the Europol Financial Intelligence Public-Private Partnership (EFIPPP) and of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime

Our team
Roger Kaiser

Roger Kaiser

Senior Policy Adviser - Tax & Compliance
Iliana Koutoulakou

Iliana Koutoulakou

Policy Adviser - Compliance, Tax & Security
Mireille Thiery

Mireille Thiery

Assistant - Prudential Policy & Supervision