The role of TBMLRO is crucial in detecting and preventing trade-based money laundering activities within financial institutions. The Trade-Based Money Laundering Reporting Officer or TBMLRO, being part of the Compliance Function, serves as the second line of defense and works in coordination with the first line of defense.
Which include Business and Operation Managers, who are responsible for establishing the business relationships and processing the transactions of the clients and customers. TBMLRO is responsible to adopt the risk-based approach toward assessing and managing trade-related risks.
As a best practice, the TBMLRO of a larger organization or business should not be directly involved in the business operations, receipt, transfer, or payment of funds. The appointed MLRO should also have independent oversight and be able to communicate directly with those parties who make decisions about the business such as senior management or the board of directors.
The Crucial Role of TBMLRO in Mitigating TBML Risks
The TBMLRO needs to:
- Have the necessary authority and access to resources to implement an effective compliance program and make any desired changes
- Know your business’s functions and structure
- Have knowledge of your business sector’s ML/TF risks and vulnerabilities as well as ML/TF trends and typologies
- Understand your business sector’s requirements under the PCMLTFA and associated Regulations
TBMLRO is mainly responsible to:
- Ensure compliance with applicable trade AML/CFT and KYC laws, rules, regulations, and instructions
- Perform trade-based money laundering risk assessment
- Develop end-to-end trade AML compliance program
- Determine the resources required to perform compliance roles and responsibilities professionally and of desired quality
- Ensure that appropriate trade AML/KYC policies and processes are developed and implemented, to ensure that all trade financing customers are identified, screened, and verified, before opening an account or establishing a business relationship with them
- Provide summary data and report findings on compliance issues to the board or its subcommittee periodically
- Report to the Compliance Committee (CC) and the Board Compliance Committee (BCC) promptly on any material regulatory noncompliance (for example, failures that may attract a significant penalty)
- Ensure that customer accounts are regularly monitored to identify suspicious trade activities, and transactions
- Review the trade AML/KYC compliance policies and procedures, to ensure that they comply with applicable regulatory requirements
- Coordinate with senior management to implement the overall trade AML compliance Program
- Respond and facilitate regulatory authorities or agencies, in performing inspections or investigations
- Apprise the Board of Directors and Senior Management on trade-related AML/KYC initiatives
- Ensure that the employees are provided with trade-related AML/KYC training
- Timely and accurately report the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the relevant regulatory authority
The Trade-Based Money Laundering Reporting Officer (TBMLRO) plays a critical role as part of the Compliance Function in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing activities within the trade sector. Working in coordination with the first line of defense, the TBMLRO adopts a risk-based approach to assess and manage trade-related risks. It is considered a best practice for the TBMLRO to maintain independence from business operations and have direct communication with senior management or the board of directors.
This ensures effective oversight and decision-making regarding compliance matters. The TBMLRO’s responsibilities include ensuring compliance with applicable AML/CFT and KYC laws, conducting risk assessments, developing comprehensive compliance programs, monitoring customer accounts for suspicious activities, and promptly reporting any regulatory noncompliance.
Moreover, the TBMLRO collaborates with senior management to implement trade AML compliance initiatives, facilitates inspections or investigations by regulatory authorities, provides training to employees, and submits timely and accurate Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). By fulfilling these responsibilities, the TBMLRO plays a vital role in safeguarding the integrity of trade transactions and preventing illicit financial activities within organizations.