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BACB holds compliance training conference in Tunis

Posted on 11/08/2022

Case Studies

BACB held a training programme in the Tunisian capital at the end of July, providing capacity building to some of its key Libyan banking clients, focused on compliance and regulatory standards.

The initiative was led by BACB’s Head of Financial Crime Risk and MLRO, Richard Snookes, together with Hatem Lukhai, Head of the Libya desk and Salim Abukhzaam, Head of Treasury Sales. It was an opportunity for representatives from banks operating in Tunis to share knowledge, while being educated on key compliance regulations and processes by a UK bank. Richard Snookes presented on behalf of BACB, alongside external speakers Salem Bessauod, CEO of financial advisory firm Valoris, and Mohamed Moncef Gassouma, Chief Compliance Officer at the Arab Tunisian Bank. With combined experience of more than 50 years in the banking sector, Bessauod and Gassouma provided high-level insight on the Libyan economy as well as the current regulatory landscape. The course was run in coordination with Tunis-based education services provider Académie des Banques et Finances (ABF).

For BACB, this was an opportunity to strengthen relationships and improve the quality of transactional information provided by clients, thereby limiting unnecessary disruption to payments, reducing transactional friction, and allowing all parties to the trade transactions to better redirect resources. The training programme built upon existing, longstanding relationships, as part of BACB’s steadfast commitment to facilitating safe, sustainable business in specialist markets.

The training revolved around regulation at all stages of business activity, encouraging partner banks to understand the compliance practices under which BACB operates. The regulatory environment in the UK is unique, being based on the key principles that include acting with integrity, and conducting business with skill, care and diligence. Decreasing perceived risk, aided by such globally recognised practice, is key to increasing investment appetite in emerging markets. More specifically, training was offered to support the onboarding of clients, the screening of applicants, the screening of transactions beneficiaries, and shipment monitoring.

The experience was a collaborative one, with Richard Snookes describing it as a “sharing of knowledge” rather than a more traditional training programme. Lively debate and conversation brought the sessions to life, covering a variety of perspectives from sanctions to anti-terrorist financing initiatives and Anti Money Laundering (AML). Understanding of these initiatives in the context of trade is fundamental for financial institutions operating in countries keen to establish new, and strengthen existing, international trade links.

40 representatives from 12 banks attended the training. One of the main aims of the course, said Richard, was to enable attendees to “pass learning back” to their colleagues. The training was not homogenously attended by C-suite executives, but branch managers, senior members of compliance and legal teams, and those who handle day-to-day transactions. And the expertise offered by this varied attendance allowed all perspectives to be addressed, creating a training programme tailored to the specific needs of the banks.

The training explained the reasoning behind many UK-standard compliance requirements, helping local banks better understand the processes as well as their own role in limiting risk in the region. Due to its extended operations across North Africa, and specialist trade finance product expertise, BACB is uniquely positioned to offer this training.

Through collaborative discourse, this training allows BACB to encourage the adoption of enhanced compliance practices, whilst remaining committed to the strong relationships forged in the region. In the bank’s core markets, these relationships are paramount to maintaining robust business links, preventing regions from becoming isolated from global trade.

At the conclusion of the programme, Hatem Lukhai said many attendees had expressed their thanks for the open discussions held around BACB’s compliance processes, and there was a call for future training events to take place. BACB is committed to working in partnership with the financial institutions who operate in its core markets, and will continue to provide such capacity building on governance matters, at both a thematic and comprehensive level.

“While our primary goal is to educate our clients and create better quality transactions down the line, we also want to demonstrate our long-term commitment to these markets,” said Hatem, “we are eager to contribute to the development of up-and-coming talent, educating and investing in the future CEOs and Managing Directors of key banking clients.”

Richard added: “It is great that BACB can support specialist markets and provide valuable skills to our client network. We look forward to continuing to build on these positive relationships in the future, helping our clients to achieve globally recognised compliance standards.”

Tunis Training Group Photo

BACB held a training programme with key Libyan clients

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