Press release 4 September 2023

IMF published a report on anti-money laundering in Nordic and Baltic countries – supervision could be enhanced by increasing cross-border information exchange

At the request of the Nordic and Baltic countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has analysed threats and vulnerabilities stemming from money laundering and terrorist financing in their region. The IMF proposes development of the national risk assessment and the supervisors’ risk assessment primarily by enhancing the analysis of cross-border payments. Furthermore, various sources of information could be used more effectively than presently in the identification of countries involving a high risk of money laundering.

On 4 September 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report on the Nordic and Baltic countries discussing the analysis of financial flows, AML/CFT supervision and financial stability. The analysis covers eight countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.

The IMF analysed the sensitivity of supervisory tools to money-laundering risks and prepared recommendations to increase the effectiveness of these tools. In addition, the IMF explored the possibility to quantify the impact of money laundering shocks on financial stability. The request for analysis made by the Nordic and Baltic countries to the IMF was driven by the interconnectedness of financial systems in the region and particularly by the several cross-border banking networks and relations.

In its report, the IMF notes that the countries should take efforts to strengthen the AML/CFT supervision framework further. The IMF recommends more effective monitoring of financial flows, including information exchange on structural changes in the national economy. Furthermore, the IMF recommends better identification of countries posing increased money-laundering risks. The report also urges authorities to bolster the collection of data and invest in data analytics, and to take coordinated supervisory actions for the highest risk banks.

Samu Kurri, Head of Department at the FIN-FSA, welcomes the adoption of these new procedures.

– At the FIN-FSA, we have made a lot of effort to identify ML/TF risks, but effective supervision is a continuous race against criminals. The monitoring of cross-border financial flows is an important area of development, since a significant proportion of money laundering is associated with international credit transfers, says Kurri.

According to Kurri, one of the significant proposals is the enhanced supervision of virtual currency providers by the Nordic and Baltic countries in unison.

– Virtual currency providers have been covered by our supervision since 2019. The sector has seen significant evolution since then. I expect cooperation with the neighbouring regions to bear fruit in this case, too, Samu Kurri concludes.

Contact details

For further information, please contact Pekka Vasara, Head of Division.

Requests for interviews are coordinated by FIN-FSA Communications, tel. +358 9 183 5030 (weekdays 9:00–16:00).

See also