The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is South Africa’s national centre for the receipt of financial data, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence to the competent authorities. The FIC was established by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (Act 38 of 2001) and has the mandate to identify the proceeds of crime, combat money laundering and terror financing. It does this by seeking to:
- Supervise and enforce compliance with the FIC Act
- Facilitate effective supervision and enforcement by supervisory bodies
- Receive financial data from accountable and reporting institutions
- Share information with law enforcement authorities, intelligence services, the South African Revenue Service, international counterparts and supervisory bodies
- Formulate policy regarding money laundering and the financing of terrorism
- Provide policy advice to the Minister of Finance and
- Uphold the international obligations and commitments required by the country in respect of anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
The FIC Act introduces a regulatory framework of measures requiring certain categories of business to take steps regarding client identification, record-keeping, reporting of information and internal compliance structures. The Act obliges all businesses to report to the FIC various suspicious and certain other transactions. The FIC uses this financial data and available data to develop financial intelligence, which it is able to make available to the competent authorities and supervisory bodies for follow-up investigations or administrative action.
All accountable and reporting institutions are required to register with the FIC. The FIC and supervisory bodies have the authority to inspect and impose administrative penalties on non-compliant businesses. The Act also introduced an appeal process and an appeal board.
South Africa is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, the international body which sets standards and policy on anti-money laundering and for combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In addition, it is also a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a regional body of the FATF which aims to support countries in the region to implement the global AML/CFT standards.
The FIC is a member of the Egmont Group, which is made up of financial intelligence units from 153 countries. The primary aim of the organisation is to facilitate co-operation and sharing of financial intelligence information among its members.