Lewben Group — an international group of companies providing clients with asset, wealth, and fund management services, as well as financial planning services, legal, tax, business consulting, and accounting services has proposed a compliance law services for Lithuanian businesses.
According to Vilius Kavaliauskas, the chairman of the board, the company saw the need for compliance services by analyzing global trends, the main one being tightening supervision for private businesses, especially in the area of money laundering prevention. In Lithuania, the need for this service has become especially relevant in anticipation of the new amendments on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention act coming into force.
«Regulation is changing and tightening both in Lithuania and abroad. after the new amendments on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing act enter into force at the end of June, Lithuanian entrepreneurs will need much more attention and resources for compliance, as otherwise financial and reputational damage can be significant, » says V. Kavaliauskas.
Toma Zarzeckytė, Lewben Group‘s Director of Compliance Services, reminds that companies and professional service providers falling within the scope of the act are obliged to identify and verify the identity of all their clients and their beneficiaries. They have to keep evidence of verification, monitor compliance, determine whether a client is a person involved in politics, or whether there is another type of increased risk and, upon its identification, apply enhanced inspection and supervision procedures, keep track of client transactions and to report suspicions to the Financial Crime Investigation Service.
According to the expert, for those who are just starting a business or just now falling into the scope of the law, Lewben Group will propose a complete package of law compliance services — the establishment of a program for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, the introduction of control processes, everything from selection of the necessary technologies up to continuous compliance processes support. By providing these services, the client will be introduced to the regulation applied to him, advised on how to implement complex requirements in practice, adapt them to the specifics of the business, and organize specialized training for employees and management. Lewben Group specialists will propose an expert assessment on the effectiveness of the money laundering prevention program and its control, which must be independent, and cannot be carried out by the person who prepares the program himself. In addition, it will provide advice when undertaking the AML/CFT risk assessment, eliminating deficiencies in AML/CFT prevention, or improving control processes.
Huge fines ahead
The supervisory authorities have stated that financial institutions and other entities do not in all cases properly implement the AML/ CFT requirements. However, particularly severe weaknesses found in the non-financial sector. Most economic entities do not scrutinize the list of targeted financial and other international sanctions, do not apply risk-based customer ratings, and do not check the lists of people involved in politics before starting or continuing business relationships with customers. «Supervisors are lacking the resources to provide the market with sufficient training, proactive recommendations for the supervised sector, and therefore, businesses that want to be legitimated will need to look for additional resources, reliable external consultants and improve their internal processes,» says Toma Zarzeckytė, Director of Compliance Services at Lewben Group.