Structure of the framework
Policies and procedural guidelines have been set up by the Bank and are regularly reviewed/revised to ensure that they remain relevant and current and are in line with the evolving regulatory requirements and leading practices.
The Bank has moved away from a “rule based and tick box” approach for combating financial crime risk, to a risk based approach. Thus, the Bank identifies and assesses the risks from a proactive stance and allocates the requisite resources which center around systems and controls to manage these risks.
Board and Management responsibilities
The scope of the Bank’s AML/CFT framework covers the following:
The Board of Directors of the Bank has oversight responsibilities for the AML/CFT framework. The Board ensures that the Bank’s Management and all employees conform strictly with all regulatory and internal procedures relating to AML/CFT and that the Bank maintains a zero tolerance to regulatory infraction. In accordance with AML/CFT global best practice, the “tone is set from the top”.
Reports to Senior Management and the Board
AML & CFT reports are submitted monthly and quarterly to senior management and the Board respectively. These reports provide the Board and senior management with information to enable them assess the Bank’s compliance with its regulatory obligations. The reports also ensures that Directors and senior management are kept abreast on current trends and developments in the financial industry, particularly in the area of AML/CFT risk management.
Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures
A duly completed account opening form and the collection of identification and other relevant information and documents are the foundation/bedrock for on-boarding a customer in the Bank. Customer Due Diligence (CDD) is conducted prior to entering into any banking relationship with a customer. This includes at a minimum, identity and address verification as well as ascertaining the source of income and wealth of the customer.
Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) is conducted on high risk customers including politically exposed persons. The approval of senior management and Compliance is required prior to the commencement of banking relationship with such high risk customers.
The Bank takes requisite and regulatory measures when embarking on relationships with Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professionals (DNFBPs), due to their perceived risk and in compliance with regulatory requirements.
As part of the Bank’s KYC and CDD procedures, identification documents are requested and obtained to confirm the beneficial owners of a business and the organization’s control and structure.
The Bank as part of its regulatory requirements from the CBN, made it mandatory for customers to acquire a Bank Verification Number (BVN) to transact on their accounts and have access to loans and purchase of foreign exchange.
Transaction monitoring occurs on a manual and automated basis. The former is performed by all members of staff, who are regularly provided with red flags to look out for and the latter resides within the Compliance Unit.
All members of staff are aware of the fact that suspicious activities/ transactions should immediately be referred to the Compliance Unit.
To properly monitor transactions passing through the Bank’s systems, the SAS AML tool, has been fully deployed in the Bank, providing an advancement in the means by which transactions are monitored and investigated.
Regulatory and statutory requirements provide that certain reports and returns are made to regulatory bodies. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is the agency charged with the responsibility of receiving the following core transaction based reports:
- Currency Transaction Report (CTR)
- Foreign Currency Transaction Report (FTR)
- Suspicious Transaction Report (STR)
The Bank renders reports to the NFIU and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in accordance with the provisions of sections 2, 6 and 10 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011 as amended (“the Act”).
Section 2 of the Act provides that financial institutions must submit a report on all international transfer of funds and securities of a sum exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or its equivalent in other foreign currencies.
Section 6 of the Act provides that a financial institution must submit a report on all unusual and suspicious transactions.
Section 10 of the Act provides that any lodgment or transfer of funds in excess of N5 million and above for individuals and N10 million and above for corporate customers must be reported.
Relationship with Regulators and Law Enforcement Agencies
The Bank understands that part of its corporate and social role is to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the fight against financial crime. To this end, the Bank maintains a cordial and supportive relationship with all regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The Bank promptly complies with all requests made, pursuant to the law, and provides information to regulators including the NFIU, the CBN and other relevant agencies.
Sanctions Compliance Management
The Bank as a policy, does not enter into any relationships with sanctioned individuals/entities. All employees, as applicable to their functions, are required to screen names of individuals and organizations who have or plan to enter a business relationship or carry out a transaction with/through the Bank against the Bank’s internal watch list.
The internal watch list contains the names of individuals and entities, who have been blacklisted by various sanctions bodies. Employees are required, as part of the Bank's policy, to refrain from any relationship and/or transaction which yield a true or positive match and follow the escalation procedure. Sanctions screening is done at account opening and on a real time basis for all SWIFT transactions.
Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
PEPs are individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions and people or entities associated with them. Enhanced due diligence measures are applied to PEPs, as with other high risk customers to mitigate the AML/CFT risk they pose. This is to ensure that the Bank is not unknowingly supporting fraudulent activities such as money laundering and/or the financing of terrorism.
In line with FATF's recommendation, the Bank employs the use of an automated monitoring tool in identifying and monitoring PEP transactions. This is achieved through the thorough review of information provided by customers and their transaction trends.
Establishment of new accounts for PEPs as well as continuity of such accounts (for those already existing in the system) is subject to the approval of an Executive Director and the Compliance Unit.
AML/CFT principles for Correspondent Banking
The Bank only enters into and maintains correspondent banking relationships with financial institutions that have implemented sufficient AML/CFT policies and procedures. The Bank does not deal with shell banks nor maintain any payable through accounts. The Bank ensures that due diligence is performed annually on our correspondent relationships to avoid AML/CFT risks.
The Bank as a policy, places a high value on the training of its employees. Trainings are carried out to ensure employees are conversant with the AML/CFT laws, KYC principles and other AML/CFT related information. Annual Compliance training is mandatory for all members of staff, including Senior Management and Directors. Trainings are done via e-learning or face to face media. Ad hoc training also takes place by way of the dissemination of topical national and international findings too employees.
In order to adhere to regulations and to ensure an ever evolving fit for use Compliance function, internal audit of the AML/CFT function is conducted on a quarterly basis. The purpose of the audit is to test for, and ensure the effectiveness of the AML/CFT measures put in place by the Bank.
The report and findings of the audit are circulated to various levels of senior management. A follow-up to the audits takes place to ensure that the relevant issues are closed out and highlighted recommendations have been implemented.
As provided for in the Act, customer identification documents are retained throughout the life of the account and for five (5) years after the cessation of the banking relationship, except in cases of litigation and/or regulatory investigations. In the case of the latter, the records will be kept for as long as they are required.
In compliance with international best practice, the Bank ensures that its foreign subsidiaries AML/CFT provisions are consistent with the Bank’s framework which is based on global best practices. These measures are applied to the extent that the respective subsidiary’s local laws and regulations permit; however, where there are discrepancies the stricter will always apply.
Greater collaboration has been fostered and control measures taken based on the current international best practices, this is to ensure that all our subsidiaries maintain the highest standard for AML/CFT controls.
Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Corruption
Underpinning our determination to sustain a Proudly African and Truly International organization, is the sheer passion to do things right all the time. The Bank adheres to a strict, zero-tolerance policy regarding all forms of bribery and corruption in all spheres of its business and engagements. The Bank has over the years, acquired an enviable reputation built on a solid foundation of integrity, reliability, excellent corporate governance, and an unrelenting commitment to creating value for stakeholders through transparent best business practices.
The Ethics Policy and Code of Professional Conduct of the Bank clearly communicates the Bank’s position on bribery and corruption to employees. The Policy and the Code clearly state that all employees and related acquaintances are prohibited from partaking in any form of corrupt engagement.
The following Acts have been taken into consideration in preparing our Ethics, Bribery and Corruption policy:
- The Nigerian Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act
- The United Kingdom Bribery Act of 2010
- The United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Furthermore, the Bank clearly informs all persons/organizations it engages with, of its willingness to disengage relations and cooperate with the respective authorities once it confirms a breach of its anti-bribery and corruption principles. The Bank has, and will continue to impress on all appointed professional consultants, representatives and agents the necessity to uphold its principles of integrity and ethical discipline and not to engage in any act of bribery and corruption on behalf of the Bank.
The Bank’s abhorrence of corrupt and unethical practices is communicated through its values which are drilled into all employees from staff induction trainings, and as new issues emerge. All members of staff are expected to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all aspects of their professional lives. This is in tandem with the Bank’s vision of creating role models for society.
Annually, all members of staff affirm their commitment to the Bank’s policies on ethical standards, policies and procedures.
As a financial services provider with operations in key African and foreign markets, we face the risk of being compromised by money launders and fraudsters. The Bank therefore takes proactive measures to prevent the occurrence of bribery and shield the Bank’s assets and its people from falling victim to illegal activities.