On 16 December 2019, the European Banking Authority (EBA), in coordination with the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published joint guidelines on cooperation and information exchange, establishing colleges of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervisors for the first time in the European Union.
The guidelines state that when a firm is operating in more than three Member States, an AML/CFT college needs to be established. As such, the guidelines dictate the establishment and operations of the college, connecting all the relevant parties to the same communication framework.
In essence, the guidelines were published to ensure formal cooperation from all the different Member States, guaranteeing ample and effective AML/CFT on a cross-border basis. The colleges will be central to achieving this. Specifically, AML/CFT colleges will provide a permanent structure for cooperation and information exchange between the Supervisory Authorities (SAs) of different Member States as well as from third countries that are responsible for the AML/CFT supervision of the same firm.
The above will be attempted through the creation of a common framework that supervisors should use to support effective oversight of cross-border groups from an AML/CFT perspective and also from a more general perspective. At the same time, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) are clear that guidelines will leave sufficient room for the competent SAs to define their approach in a way that is commensurate with the money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risk they are each exposed to.
The ESAs Joint Guidelines can be found here.
ESMA’s press release can be found here.
EBA’s press release can be found here.