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OPINION: Now that we finally have a home for AMLA, it’s time to ensure the agency gets the right chief

By STEPHEN RAE in Brussels

SO IT IS that Frankfurt has won AMLA. This will not have been a surprise to any ‘AML Intelligence’ Members. We have predicted this outcome from the very outset!

I distinctly remember one of Europe’s most senior officials telling me: “When Germany really wants something, Germany usually gets it. And they really, really want AMLA.”

They did and they won the race fairly and squarely and we look forward to the agency beginning its work soon and fast. It’s already a year behind schedule, after all!

Now that the Anti-Money Laundering Authority’s seat has finally been chosen, fincrime professionals in the EU can now look to the important issue of AMLA leadership and team-building.

It is clear the agency will require a strong, focused, talented and independent-minded chief executive. AMLA will have to show its credentials early on as an objective, independent and fearless agency. In this manner, it will have to learn from its US peers.

Independence will be required from interfering politicians, interested party banks, CASPs and other obliged entities and …. yes, the European Central Bank #ECB.

Up the street from AMLA will be the big sister ECB – with its own agenda.

This conflict was something that was brought up over and over at the public hearings in Brussels last month. The AMLA ceo and her/his leadership will have to show their own grit and determination against all the outside interests who will want to have a say in its operation and outlook.

So here is to Europe picking the right individual to lead the powerful new agency and the right leadership team around her or him.

Right now, focus will be on the AMLA Task Force within DG FISMA at the European Commission which has been preparing for this moment for the last year.

“In the morning we have a task force ready to go to set up the framework to allow AMLA to begin its job,” financial services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said last night.

“We want and need to have trust in the system and root out the illegal activities that fund money laundering,” she added.

We will of course be discussing this and much more at ‘European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024’ in Dublin on May 16 next.

Will the new AMLA chief be in the audience? I hazard she or he may well be 😉

Have you booked your place yet? You can do so today here:

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