Increase Your (Financial) Intelligence

How do you catch criminals? More exactly, how do you catch people using the financial system to shift, grow and conceal criminal assets? First, you have to know what they’re doing.

A proposal lodged this week will, if approved by the States of Jersey (the Island’s Parliament), boost our ability to track those trying to use Jersey’s financial system for criminal or terrorist enterprises.

You do this by strengthening the existing Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in line with the increasing business being done by the Island. The FIU is part of a global network of agencies which collect data on suspicious or unusual financial activity (often in the form of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) which are well-established locally) and are responsible for receiving, analysing and disseminating that intelligence.

Due to the volume of funds held in Jersey, the island needs an FIU with capacity to effectively monitor the SARs and other intelligence received (if you want to know more about what an FIU does, the international body for FIUs, Egmont, have produced a useful explanatory video – Vimeo log-in required).

Joint Financial Crime Unit

The Joint Financial Crime Unit (JFCU) in the States of Jersey Police has acted as Jersey’s FIU for a significant period of time as an operational police department.  The draft legislation establishes the Jersey FIU (JFIU) as a distinct entity which will work with other local Law Enforcement Agencies such as the JFCU Operations (which will remain part of the States of Jersey Police) and the Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit and other competent authorities. For information security and intelligence purposes, the JFIU will remain physically situated in the Police Station, but the legislation now gives the FIU operational independence and autonomy as required by international standards. 

These standards are developed by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), the global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing.  As this video from the FATF outlines (link to YouTube), taking action to #followthemoney may never have been a more urgent global challenge; money laundering and terrorist financing is far from a victimless crime. As a significant international finance centre, Jersey has a major role to play in the fight against financial crime, and that work starts domestically.  

The legislation, which has been developed between authorities including colleagues in the FIU, is due for debate by the States Assembly in late March ( P.32 –  the Draft Proceeds of Crime (Financial Intelligence) (Jersey) Regulations 202-)  and proposes a new role of Director of JFIU and provides a requirement for a JFIU Governance Board to be appointed who will report to the Minister.  

Government Plan 2022-2025

The Government Plan 2022-2025, adopted by the States Assembly in December 2021, provided significant additional resources for Financial Crime prevention. A significant proportion of that resource is destined for investment into the JFIU to enhance the unit’s analytical capacity, and develop the ability to conduct strategic analysis (for example, reports on financial crime trends impacting Jersey). Communication and interaction with the Island’s finance industry is a key part of the work of the enhanced JFIU and there is soon to be news around a public private partnership for Jersey.

Overall, the changes brought about by this Government investment and the draft legislation (if adopted) look to develop JFIU as a Financial Intelligence Unit fit to manage the risk Jersey faces as a leading IFC in 2022. In that regard, a recruitment campaign based on new job descriptions is planned for spring/summer 2022 for new roles in JFIU which represents an exciting time for Jersey to seek talent from both the public and private sector – so please watch this space for the opportunity to come and join our part in the global fight against financial crime.  

This blog is by George Pearmain, Director of Financial Crime Strategy, Department for the Economy, Government of Jersey, and Detective Chief Inspector Mark Coxshall, States of Jersey Police, on secondment to Government of Jersey

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