FIU goes online for money crimes data
THE Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has launched an online page to streamline reporting suspicious financial activities for reporting entities and the public as a whole.
At the FIU’s conference room at Tower D, International Waterfront Complex, in Port of Spain, on Friday, director Nigel Stoddard said the increase in the need to inform reporting entities – such as banks, insurance companies, car companies and other financial institutions – had increased since the inception of the website, which was developed in 2011.
He said it would also inform them of their obligations to contribute to the effort of anti-money laundering (AML) and countering financial terrorism, (CFT) and what they should know about the FIU’s activities.
Stoddard said since the inception of the FIU, a manual system had been used.
“It incurred a significant amount of time and effort in data storage and data entry. It caused inefficiencies in data mining,” Stoddard said.
He added it adversely affected the unit’s ability to get the maximum amount of information needed to the relevant authorities in the shortest possible time.
He also said as the FIU and the information it was able to provide grew, it became more and more difficult to navigate the 2011 version of the website.
“The FIU TT therefore decided it was time to redesign and upgrade the website to provide a more user-friendly environment, and to increase awareness of the laws and regulations among citizens and non-citizens and supervisor entities for even greater compliance with the AML/CFT regime,” he said.
The website does not only function as a means for the FIU to streamline its information channels but also includes FIU Connect, an online reporting feature which would allow reporting entities and the public to report any suspicious activity.
The website was designed by Sightfactory Ltd and populated with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance and the US Embassy.
Sightfactory Ltd managing director Phillip Colthrust said the main goals were to ensure that the users of the website could get the information they need as easily as possible, and to make accessing information as easy as possible for the FIU team.
One of the ways this was done was through changing the menu. Instead of conventional categories, Colthrust said his company focused on compliance, reporting and general information on the FIU
“FIU is a special organisation with specialised content,” Colthrust said. “It was important to change the information architecture to focus on the three core areas of our organisation.”
The FIU said the information on the website is expected to be exported to an offline server, to limit security risks.