The Wolfsberg Group

Summary

Countries of operation: 
Switzerland (HQ) — Global
Year: 
1999
Sector: 
Banking and finance
Collective Action Type: 
Standard Setting Initiatives
Members: 

Banco Santander, Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS

Description: 

The Wolfsberg Group is an association of thirteen global banks, which aims to develop financial services industry standards, and related products, for Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Corruption and Counter Terrorist Financing policies.

Further information

Origins: 

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a number of new, significant, anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory and legislative developments were introduced to address mounting international concern over money laundering. In an attempt to develop common practices and policies in the area of private banking, under the initiative of Hans-Peter Bauer, Chief Risk Officer, UBS Private Banking; Peter Eigen and Fritz Heimann, Transparency International; Professor Mark Pieth of the University of Basel and; Stanley Morris, former director of FinCEN, a collection of global financial institutions joined forces to review and compare their internal AML guidelines with a view of articulating high standards in relation to due diligence. The result of these initial meetings was the publication of The Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles for Private Banking.

Membership organization structure: 

Membership is informally organized and is not open to new members.

Thematic scope of the initiative: 

Originally established to address the money laundering risks in private banking, the Group has expanded its scope to include additional financial crime risks within the financial services industry, such as corruption, terrorist financing and sanctions. Main activities include: Standard setting for the Wolfsberg Group of banks on financial crime risks, participation in supranational fora for legislative developments in the field of financial crime, stakeholder engagement with Members, industry (non-member banks), regulators and civil society education and training.

Goal(s): 

To help increase the effectiveness of the financial services industry in combatting financial crime by developing Guidance, Principles and Standards on financial crime risks and maintaining an active dialogue with significant stakeholders on key legislative initiatives.

Frequency of meetings: 
Quarterly
Convenor of meetings: 
Rotating between members
Evaluation by stakeholders: 

The Wolfsberg Group is seen as the global private sector leader in standards on Anti Money Laundering / KYC and the fight against the financing of Terrorism. The Group has established the trust, support and encouragement of many regulators and key supranational institutions. Prior to the inception of the Wolfsberg Forum, the Wolfsberg Group brought its key regulators together on a regular basis, which they did not necessarily do independently and this was seen as a great achievement. The Group is frequently consulted and invited to behind closed door meetings to provide opinion on key legislative initiatives and there is on-going dialogue and consultation about all central aspects of AML and their future regulatory development. The Group serves as an important source of information for the benchmarking of each member’s standards and position vis-à-vis their peers. Its work is proof positive that best practice can be industry-led, rather than regulator driven.

Contact

Name: 
Tracy Paradise, Alison Fairfax
Email: 
info@wolfsberg-principles.com
Phone: 
+44 207 991 2771