On 19th March 2021, the Swiss Federal Council voted in favour of a reform of the anti-money laundering legislation. The primary goal of the revision is to allow Switzerland to pass its next FATF country audit in 2022. The financial industry though still has widespread concerns about the steady increase in suspicious activity reports and lack of processing capacity at Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS).
The Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index 2020 Places Switzerland 93rd Out Of 141 Countries
The latest Basel AML Index “Ranking money laundering and terrorist financing risks around the world” places Switzerland 93rd out of 141 countries. In a European comparison, it ranks 27th out of 33. The Basel Institute draws on data from the FATF, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. The reasons for this poor ranking are cited as lack of transparency in transactions and inadequate anti-money laundering precautions. The Basel AML Index is an independent annual ranking that assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) around the world. According to the 2020 report, the main challenge faced by many countries is the effective implementation of AML/CFT rules.
The Mountain of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) Is Growing
Despite the criticisms regarding lack of transparency, Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) is still faced with a mountain of suspicious activity reports. Its 2019 Annual Report shows that the volume is growing steadily and exceeded 7,000 in 2019. According to MROS, at the end of November 2019 this involved a total asset volume of CHF 12.9 billion. As in previous years, most of the assets originated from offences involving fraud or corruption.