Demand increases in Gulf for anti-money laundering measures

Financial institutions have begun to enforce more stringent measures to check money laundering and have taken to more careful customer screening. ihilal.com assures clients of its own anti-money laundering measures.

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By  Vijaya George Published  October 24, 2001

In the light of the attacks in the United States, many Islamic financial institutions have recently fallen under heavy global scrutiny. To date, the governments of the USA and the UK have frozen hundreds of millions of dollars in assets belonging to various organizations and individuals. iHilal Financial Services (www.ihilal.com), which specialises in Islamic and ethical investing, and which has offices in the USA, UK, Guernsey, and the UAE, has confirmed that it has taken the necessary steps in all its business procedures to ensure that the company fall in line with the standards set by global authorities to fight money laundering and to protect its customers and their assets.

“We have taken extra efforts to ensure that all of our activities abide by the rules and regulations that are recognised by the most stringent regulatory bodies in the world. This serves two goals — protecting our customer’s investments, and maintaining the viability of our company and business,” says Linda Renkwitz, Chief Compliance Officer at iHilal Financial Services. iHilal Financial Services complies by the rules set by the National Association of Securities Dealers in the USA, as well as the Financial Services Authorities in the UK and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission in the Channel island of Guernsey.

Such regulatory bodies put in place procedures that protect the interest of any consumer that transacts with or through a financially regulated company and administer procedures to ensure that any customer or corporation that conducts business through a regulated financial institution are scrutinized thoroughly. “When a new customer enters iHilal’s virtual gates either directly on the Internet or through one of the local banks or regulated financial advisors, this customer is initially screened and profiled,” says Ramzi Abu Khadra, CEO of iHilal Financial Services.

“These procedures require that the customer submit proof of identification. Customers are also required to identify a banking institution with which they have an active account. Each customer’s documents are taken through a manual check to verify the accuracy of the documentation and submitted information,” explains Abu Khadra.

Potential customers are also crosschecked against selected lists of sanctioned or suspicious individuals or organisations. Recently, iHilal has also begun offering its technological and anti-money laundering facilities to other financial institutions in the region.

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