Press release 13 March 2019 – 3/2019

FIN-FSA Annual Report 2018: Supervision of anti-money laundering and digitalisation has been strengthened

According to the Annual Report 2018, published today by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), the Finnish financial sector has remained stable. Sector actors are subject, however, to the same profitability pressures as their competitors in Europe. Profitability is threatened by a weakening of projected growth of the global and Finnish economies, the uncertainty of the political environment, competition from outside the traditional sector, and climate change.

Themes highlighted during 2018 were curbing the growing indebtedness of households, the Nordea headquarters’ move to Finland and anti-money laundering supervision. Progress on digitalisation continued both in the field of supervision and in the supervisor’s own operations. During the latter part of the year, the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority also strengthened its anti-money laundering supervision as well as its supervision of digitalisation-related activities.

Now, in March 2019, as a continuation of this work, the Financial Supervisory Authority has established two new units: Anti-Money Laundering, and Digitalisation and Banking Services.

In addition, during 2018, the FIN-FSA has recruited nearly thirty financial sector professionals solely for supervising Nordea, and has reorganised supervision to meet the ECB’s requirements for joint banking supervision.

We need a common EU anti-money laundering supervisor

The FIN-FSA considers that, in the light of recent events, a fundamental change in anti-money laundering responsibilities is required in the EU. To date, supervision has been national and based on directives, which each country has implemented in its legislation and in its own way. As a quick remedy, it has been proposed that the powers and resources of the European Banking Authority be strengthened in anti-money laundering supervision.

– I recommend, however, a similar structure for anti-money laundering supervision as in euro area banking supervision: an independent and tough centralised supervisory authority with strong powers supported in its work by national supervisors, should be established in the EU. This is the only way to ensure high quality supervision, uniform supervisory practices, seamless flow of information, and the independence and integrity required for supervision. The goal should be zero tolerance for criminal exploitation of the financial sector, says Anneli Tuominen in her review.

In addition to the previous year’s priorities and the state of the financial markets, the Annual Report also addresses issues such as anti-money laundering, development of virtual currency regulation, and macro-prudential measures to strengthen the risk absorbency of credit institutions and households.

The Annual Report will be published in Swedish and English later this spring.

Further information:

Anneli Tuominen, Director General of the Financial Supervisory Authority

Requests for interviews are coordinated by FIN-FSA Communications, tel. +358 9 183 5030, weekdays 9.00–16.00.

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