Sebi inspects brokers on money laundering, terror funding

NEW DELHI: Stepping up its fight against money laundering and terror funding through capital markets, Sebi inspected more than 200 stock brokers and sub-brokers during the last fiscal to check any possible non-compliance.

This marks a significant jump from total 81 brokers and sub-brokers on whom such inspections were carried out during the previous fiscal 2011-12.

Without disclosing the names of the entities that were inspected, Sebi has said it carried out 162 stock brokers and 39 sub-brokers during 2012-13, up from 69 brokers and 12 sub- brokers during the previous year.

"The focus of the inspections included themes such as compliance of norms regarding Anti-money Laundering, settlement of accounts of clients on timely basis, segregation of clients and proprietary funds/securities, KYC norms, clearing operations, etc," Sebi said in its latest report to the Government of India for 2012-13.

Sebi said it has been taking steps to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing through the securities markets.

To further strengthen the existing framework and to tackle the risk presented by the misuse of complex legal structures, such as, companies, partnerships, trusts etc, in facilitating money laundering or financing of terrorism, Sebi has made it mandatory for market intermediaries to identify and verify the beneficial owner of funds.

"Money laundering is globally recognised as one of the largest threats posed to the financial system of a country. The fight against terrorist financing is another such emerging threat with grave consequences for both the political and economic standing of a jurisdiction.

"Rapid developments and greater integration of the financial markets together with improvements in technology and communication channels continue to pose serious challenges to the authorities and institutions dealing with anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML and CFT)," Sebi said.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) was amended in December 2012 to make the legislative and administrative framework of the country more effective and capable of handling new evolving threats in the areas of money laundering and financing of terror.

Sebi said it has included the AML/CFT risks risks as part of its inspection of market intermediaries, such as stock brokers, depository participants and mutual funds.

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