The Action Group on Cross Border Remittances brings together participants from industry, government, regulators, and international partners improve dialogue and trust between stakeholders in the UK remittance market.
Remittances play a vital role in supporting the people and economies of countries around the world. Remittance flows are particularly important for fragile and conflict-affected states. An estimated US$414 billion (around £246 billion) was remitted to developing countries in 2013 by 232 million migrants worldwide.
Globally, we have seen banks withdrawing accounts from Money Service Businesses (MSBs), particularly money remitters, this is one symptom of a broader trend of banks terminating, restricting or denying banking services from higher-risk customers in order to reduce costs and exposure to risk.
In October 2013, the government set out an action plan to help identify market-led solutions for ensuring the continued flow of remittances.
The Action Group is chaired by Sir Brian Pomeroy and includes representatives from the Association of UK Payment Institutions (AUKPI), the British Bankers Association, the International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN), the Payments Council, the World Bank and the Financial Conduct Authority. Government participants include HM Treasury, the Department for International Development, HM Revenues and Customs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office and the National Crime Agency.
UK-Somali Safer Corridor
The UK government’s Safer Corridor Initiative aims to address underlying deficiencies in the UK-Somalia remittance corridor, provide assurance to banks that the risks can be managed effectively and to support the Somalia authorities to build a regulated financial sector in Somalia. The Initiative brings together work undertaken by the government, supervisors and the World Bank, in close collaboration with Somali community representatives, industry representatives and others.
Guidance working groups
Guidance to prevent money laundering
The Guidance Working Group of the Action Group on Cross Border Remittances was tasked with preparing guidance for money service businesses on how to comply with their anti-money laundering and terrorism financing obligations. The following HMRC guidance has been approved by the Money Laundering Advisory Committee (MLAC) and HM Treasury.
The guidance replaced HMRC’s previous anti money laundering guidance for money service businesses (MSBs) (MLR8 July 2010). Approval by HM Treasury means that HMRC and the courts will consider whether a person has followed this guidance when deciding whether they have failed to comply with the money laundering regulations.
Any questions on the guidance should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance to help identify financial crime
The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) produced guidance for those operating in the financial services sector to assist them in identifying and managing financial crime risk in MSBs as clients.
The guidance has been produced in full consultation with the JMLSG members via its editorial panel, and following discussion with the AUKPI.
National Crime Agency risk workshops
The National Crime Agency was tasked with leading a sub-group looking into the risks from criminal money laundering in the Money Service Business (MSB) sector.
The risk update updated in May 2015 provides a summary of the issues discovered in preserving banking facilities for MSBs.
Dates and rotation of meetings
The Action Group last met on 7 October 2015.
A summary of progress so far as January 2015 can be found in the Action Group on Cross Border Remittances - 6 month update
Useful links and further reading
Remarks of Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the Speech from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, addressing the issue the of de-banking of MSBs, 12 August 2014.
Evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on bank de-risking, which is being considered as part of the Committee’s Inquiry on the Treatment of Financial Services Consumers