Abu Dhabi Global Market enacts new anti-money laundering rules

Regulatory changes follow consultation period, as UAE prepares for FATF review

Abu Dhabi Global Market enacted changes to its rules that combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and unlawful organisations, as the UAE ramps up efforts to fight financial crime.

“These amendments reflect ADGM’s commitment as an international financial centre to provide a safe regulatory environment and adopt a stringent and effective financial crime prevention supervisory framework, which supports the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing activities,” said Richard Teng, chief executive of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM.

The emirate's financial free zone is "working closely with UAE federal authorities to ensure proper readiness for [global anti-money laundering standards body] Financial Action Task Force's upcoming mutual evaluation assessment, and our dedicated team is working on various initiatives to enhance the level of compliance and awareness of financial crime risks," Mr Teng said on Monday.

As are other countries globally, the UAE is preparing to undergo an assessment this summer by the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 and responsible for developing and upholding global policies to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and other types of financial crime.

The UAE received satisfactory status in its last review in 2008. If any nation falls short in its FATF assessment, it would receive a negative report and risk being named as “unsatisfactory” or worse.

Last October, the Dubai government enacted changes to the Dubai International Financial Centre's AML laws as part of the same national efforts. Meanwhile, the UAE has also tweaked the federal legislation on anti-money laundering.

ADGM's regulatory changes follow a period of public consultation, where the proposals received support, it said. The enhancements align the free zone's anti-money laundering regime with the new federal laws, and require ADGM-registered businesses to comply with the framework within the next 12 months.

In 2017, ADGM established a dedicated team, the Financial Crime Prevention Unit, to promote sound practices in financial crime prevention.