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Report: Russian financial companies ask central bank to review AML regulations

Russian financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies, asked the Central Bank of the Russian Federation to eliminate 27 obsolete anti-money laundering regulations, RBC reported Oct. 21.

According to the report, the main proposals put forward by market participants relate to the identification of customers. Financial institutions asked the central bank to remove the requirement to identify the beneficiaries of small transactions and to ask foreign clients for migration cards. They also proposed removing investment advisers and non-life insurance companies from the scope of Russia's anti-money laundering law.

The proposals were put forward as part of the central bank's initiative that invited financial companies in September to identify regulatory requirements that are no longer relevant or that impede market development. All suggestions submitted under the initiative will be analyzed by the central bank's special working group, and the regulator will determine by 2019-end which proposals could be implemented, the report said.

Meanwhile, Kommersant reported Oct. 22 that the Russian central bank revoked only four banking licenses in the third quarter of 2019, the lowest number since 2002. The central bank believes the main problems of the country's banking sector have already been solved, but experts cited by the newspaper estimate that around 200 financial institutions may still leave the market in the next few years as part of the banking sector cleanup.

The central bank's head, Elvira Nabiullina, initiated the crackdown on the banking sector's unscrupulous players in 2014. Since then, the number of banks operating in Russia has dropped by 469 and stands at 454 as of Oct. 1, 2019, Kommersant noted.