Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Quinn McCartney said the new analytical software acquired by government in its recent upgrade of the unit has had a tremendous impact on the quality of his department’s output.
One of the main concerns of the most recent Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) mutual evaluation of The Bahamas’ anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, was the quality of the FIU’s analytics and referrals to the Financial Crime Unit (FCU) of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).
As a result of that evaluation, the government earlier this year overhauled the FIU and appointed McCartney director of the unit.
“It’s a whole, cohesive step that we’ve taken this year to try and improve the efficiency and response time of the Financial Intelligence Unit. One of the things was the software. In May of this year we would have done a complete overhaul of the information technology infrastructure at the FIU and a part of that included software that we obtained for financial institutions and our other industry partners to file suspicious transactions reports (STR), so that would actually speed up the process of getting the reports to us,” McCartney said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“The second thing is that we also got some analytical and case management software from IBM, acquired at the same time. What they do is help give us a better idea of the cases that are in the system. And also, we are in the process now of putting in checks to remind us and prompt us when new matters come in and how long they would have been in the system, so we can be current with our workload.
“The analytical software also provides the analysts the tools to put in the information, map the information, check to see if there are any links between individuals or companies in a particular matter or any other matter that we may have in the FIU. It speeds up the process of us being able to create links and speed up the process in the FIU.”
McCartney said the FIU in recent weeks also hired four new analysts to help improve the efficiency of the unit.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said this new software was one of three remaining action points The Bahamas needed to enforce to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) gray list of countries with deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes.