New Publication: Understanding FIU Operational Independence and Autonomy



October 2018 — An operationally independent and autonomous Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is essential to an effective anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. FIUs play a central role by providing financial information and intelligence that supports the work of law enforcement authorities, AML/CFT supervisors, and foreign counterparts. A lack of autonomy or operational independence undermines not only the effectiveness of the FIU’s activities but also has an impact upon national money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) investigations, and prosecutions.

The topic of operational independence and autonomy of FIUs has been a subject of discussion for many years within the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (EG) and amongst its counterparts.  Recognizing the need for clarity on this subject, the Egmont Group Heads of FIU tasked the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL) with the responsibility of producing a document that defines the characteristics of an operationally independent and autonomous FIU.

Who can use this paper? Endorsed by the Heads of FIU in September 2018, Understanding FIU Operational Independence and Autonomy is a paper that will assist governments (decision and policy makers), FIUs, and Key stakeholders in identifying the features of an independent and autonomous FIU, regardless of its structure or the type of legal system it exists within.

The paper is not intended to set a new standard, nor does it discuss strategies to achieve these characteristics. It does provide an FIU self-assessment, which is included as an Annex to support the identification of areas where operational independence and autonomy can be practically strengthened. Please note that the paper is currently being translated into additional languages. These papers will be posted as they become available.

For additional information about this paper or its content please contact the Egmont Group Secretariat at [email protected]