Sitting here, as proud as punch to be elected as a Deputy and member of Guernsey’s States of Deliberation, the mind starts thinking of the compliance aspects of our success at the polls.
My first thought is AML – of course! High risk I may be but am I a PEP? Does the automatic requirement for enhanced due diligence apply to me because I am a Deputy?
For those of you who don’t know PEP stands for politically exposed person. The definition, which is the same in both sets of Regulations that apply in Guernsey, starts by saying that a politically exposed person means “a person who has, or has had at any time, a prominent public function or who has been elected or appointed to such a function in a country or territory other than the Bailiwick …” (My emphasis)
So, having read that, I see that it’s not me then ? ….. Oh yes it is! Because, as always, it is never as simple as it seems.
As I have been elected to a political position in the Bailiwick, I am considered a “domestic” PEP and the extra due diligence does not automatically apply here. However, if I want to open a bank account, say, in the UK, I am a “non-domestic” PEP and so caught by their Money Laundering Regulations 2007. Their Regulation 14(5)(a)(i) states that a PEP “is an individual who is or has, at any time in the preceding year, been entrusted with a prominent public function by .. a state other than the United Kingdom”.
As we have many banks here that are branches of UK banks or, indeed, branches of other countries’ banks, their approach needs to be considered. Their policies and procedures may require that the highest standard of AML which applies in the jurisdictions in which they operate is followed or they may not even differentiate between “domestic” and “non-domestic” PEP. So whilst we are not caught by the legislation which applies to those branches, which is the Guernsey legislation, we are probably caught by the policies imposed on them by “head office”.
As Guernsey intends to update its legislation and the Handbooks to follow the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Recommendations 2012, that distinction should no longer be as relevant and I will have PEP status both here and abroad … but not yet.
Whether or not we are automatically PEPs does not mean the story ends there. As I have said, it is highly likely that, if we are not treated as PEPs, the business relationships or occasional transactions we undertake will be assessed as high risk anyway under the firm’s policy and procedures.
However, whilst the definition of PEP in legislation invariably includes the PEP’s immediate family and close associates as it does in Guernsey, what is interesting to note is that the FATF Recommendations do not call these people PEPs. All that the Recommendations state is that “the requirements for all types of PEP should also apply to family members or close associates of such PEPs.” (My emphasis again).
So whatever you want to call us, come Tuesday, I expect businesses to be queuing up at the doors of new Deputies’ for those extra pieces of information or documentation to comply with the Handbooks.
If you have not checked (or had not even thought to check) your database to see if we (or our family members or close associates) are your clients, then may I politely suggest you contact me. I can help you review your procedures to make sure you don’t miss anyone’s change of status which results in the need to undertake further enhanced due diligence.