Taxpayers are funding more than 20 new full-time roles in finance-related supervision and enforcement at a cost of £1.8m as the island prepares for a key evaluation of the industry.
At the end of 2021, politicians agreed to allocate funds over the course of the 2022-25 Government Plan for recruitment into roles that ministers hope will prove to inspectors from Moneyval that Jersey is taking financial crime seriously.
The £7.2m over the four years of the plan is paying for 15 new full-time-equivalent roles in the Jersey Financial Intelligence Unit, which has been part of the police up to now but is being hived off as a standalone legal entity.
The Joint Financial Crimes Unit, which leads on investigations, is increasing its headcount by three, while the Law Officers’ Department, which handles prosecutions, is seeing its numbers rise by six.
A new director of the JFIU, Jonathan Groom, has been appointed and starts his job later this month. He will report to a new Governance Board overseen by the Minister for External Relations and Financial Services.
The unit Mr Groom will oversee has doubled in size over three months, expanding from 16 to 30 personnel.
Its role is to receive and analyse ‘Suspicious Transaction Reports’ submitted by the industry, and then assess if a law has been broken.
Because of the global nature of Jersey’s financial services industry, much of the JFIU’s work involves making requests for information from other jurisdictions, which may or may not choose to cooperate.
Jersey’s government, industry and regulator are working together to prepare for the visit of a team of inspectors from Moneyval, which is the permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe, which assesses a jurisdiction’s compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
It not only looks at the technical and legislative compliance with those standards – set by the global Financial Action Task Force – but also the effectiveness of the response to them.
Jersey was last assessed by Moneyval in 2015, with the island complying with 39 of FATF’s 40 technical recommendations.
The current evaluation began in 2018 and although its zenith will be when the inspectors arrive in September for two and a half weeks, it will continue into 2024, when the body’s report on Jersey will be published.
Recently, Moneyval published its evaluation of Monaco, which was heavily critical of the principality’s defences against financial crime.
Pictured: Monaco's Moneyval assessment was heavily critical.
Last year, FATF placed the Cayman Islands on a ‘grey list’ of below-par jurisdictions following an inspection by the Caribbean equivalent of Moneyval.
At an industry meeting this week, government officials said that did not expect Jersey would get a clean bill of health by Moneyval - however, the island would be prepared for the visit and endeavour to pre-empt as many of the body’s recommendations as possible.
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