From my colleague, Ben Dunlap:
"In response to the FATF’s earlier concerns over resourcing, the new law also requires the FIU to be appropriately staffed and, in the same way as with individual financial entities, there will be a need for independent advice and expertise in AML compliance to deliver effective implementation, develop the required new capacity and monitor progress thereafter.
As the complexity of risks and regulatory scrutiny increases, hiring, developing and managing effective AML business functions becomes progressively difficult. It will therefore be prudent to bring in subject matter experts such as former regulators and compliance officers to advise on setting up the new AML regulatory framework to ensure nothing is missed.
Notwithstanding these gaps and resource requirements, the desired outcome is achievable, and the updated regulations are a major step towards organizations in the UAE being fully compliant. Once these measures are fully implemented, the UAE and all its financial entities will be much more unified against money laundering, paving the way for increased foreign investment, greater confidence in the domestic financial system and more cooperation from the other member governments of FATF."
It may well prove a challenge for private institutions to cope with strict onboarding processes, in which gathering enough KYC documentation and information could be difficult from customers across the region. In addition, while the new AML law permits a new independent Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to exchange information with its counterparts in other countries, the UAE has very strict laws requiring UAE banking and financial data to stay inside the UAE. If we also consider GDPR requirements, this could potentially impede the new FIU’s cooperation with international AML investigations.