The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) was established under section 6 of the Anti Money Laundering Ordinance-2007 in October 2007. It is the central agency in Pakistan responsible for receiving, analyzing and disseminating to the investigatory and supervisory authorities, disclosures of financial information concerning suspected proceeds of crime and alleged money laundering offences and the financing of any activities or transactions related to terrorism. As such, it plays a decisive role in the detection and investigation of financial crimes.
In furtherance of its role, FMU collects, processes, analyses and interprets all information disclosed to it and obtained by it under the relevant enactments; issues guidelines to Financial Institutions/ non-financial businesses and professions (NFBP) on the manner in which suspicious transactions shall be reported and additional information supplied to the FMU. Additionally, FMU informs, advises and co-operates with investigating agencies, supervisory authorities and other law enforcement agencies and exchanges information domestically and internationally.
In the medium term, FMU plans to review and consolidate its capacity toward improving
its operational efficiency in respect of data storage, retrieval of data and analytical expertise. Special attention will also be given to training and retention of staff who have acquired specialilsed skills and work culture of an FIU. Furthermore, while the desired confidence level exists among FMU and the reporting institutions, focused initiatives shall be undertaken to strengthen the partnership through specialized seminars and other training programs.
The long-run strategy of the FMU will flow out of National AML/CFT strategy and the extent of successful acquisition and integration of expertise, capacity resources and the requirements and expectations of the stakeholders. Essentially, the strategy will look towards enhancement of FMU’s preventive role through the preparation of strategic reports, effective use of the FMU’s website and database for deterrence and better national AML/CFT awareness. Additionally, FMU will continue to play a lead role in regional and international AML/CFT initiatives.
In a nutshell, a successful strategy for the FMU aims at increasing the quality and numbers of essentials input, i.e. STRs, information on cash movements and large transactions and other developments that help to detect and analyze financial crimes; building the necessary human and IT capabilities for its operations and responding effectively to the demand for its output i.e. substantive leads as well as meeting other requests for support from domestic law enforcement agencies, regulators and overseas FIUs.
However, developing responses in the context of specific AML/CFT stakeholders within the agreed national strategy cannot ignore that prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing is an endless exercise. Techniques are fast evolving, reflecting the innovative and sophisticated approaches of the perpetuators of financial crimes who always tend to remain one step ahead using latest techniques and exploration of legal ambiguities and advances in financial technology. FMU is keenly aware of needed alertness to the new risks as a crucial factor in national AML/CFT strategy building.