The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units
The Egmont Group began in 1995 as a collection of a small number of national agencies, then referred to as “financial disclosure units” and today referred to as financial intelligence units (FIUs), seeking to explore ways of cooperation among themselves. The FIU concept has grown over the years and is now an important component of the international community’s approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. To meet the standards of Egmont membership an FIU must be a centralized unit within a nation or jurisdiction to detect criminal financial activity and ensure adherence to laws against financial crimes, including terrorist financing and money laundering. Since its inception, the Egmont Group has grown dramatically from a small group to a recognized membership of more than 150 FIUs. The Egmont Group now has passed its first decade, and is evolving toward a structure of independent units working closely together to strengthen not only their own countries’ anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) regime, but to strengthen the global firewall of economic resistance to money launderers and terrorist financiers.
The Egmont Group is an international network designed to improve interaction among FIUs in the areas of communications, information sharing, and training coordination. The goal of the Egmont Group is to provide a forum for FIUs around the world to improve support to their respective governments in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes. This support includes expanding and systematizing the exchange of financial intelligence information, improving expertise and capabilities of personnel employed by such organizations, and fostering better and more secure communication among FIUs through the application of technology. The Egmont Group’s secure Internet system, the Egmont Secure Web, permits members to communicate with one another via secure e-mail, requesting and sharing case information as well as posting and assessing information on typologies, analytical tools and technological developments. On behalf of the Egmont Group, FinCEN maintains the Egmont Secure Web (ESW). FinCEN also developed the Egmont Group’s public Web site, but transferred maintenance of the site to the Egmont Secretariat in 2009.
The Egmont Group is organizationally structured to meet the challenges of the volume of membership and its workload. The Egmont Committee, a group of 14 members, is an intermediary group between the heads of member FIUs and the five Egmont Working Groups: Legal, Training, Outreach, Information Technology, and Operational. This Committee addresses the administrative and operational issues facing Egmont and is comprised of seven permanent members and seven regional representatives. The seven permanent members include the Chair of each of the five Working Groups, the FIU hosting the ESW (FinCEN) and the Egmont Executive Secretary. The regional representation is based on continental groupings and includes one representative from Asia, two from Europe, two from the Americas, one from Africa, and one from Oceania. The five Working Groups are instrumental in the operations of the Egmont Group. The Legal Working Group reviews the candidacy of potential members and handles all legal aspects and matters of principle within the Egmont Group. The Training Working Group looks at ways to communicate more effectively, identifies training opportunities for FIU personnel and examines new software applications that might facilitate analytical work. The Outreach Working Group concentrates on expanding and developing the FIU global network by identifying countries that have established or are establishing FIUs. Outreach is responsible for making initial contact with potential candidate FIUs, and conducts assessments to determine if an FIU is ready for Egmont membership. The Operational Working Group is designed to foster increased cooperation among the operational divisions of the member FIUs and coordinate the development of studies and typologies – using data collected by the FIUs – on a variety of subjects useful to law enforcement. The Information Technology (IT) Working Group promotes collaboration and information sharing on IT matters among the Egmont membership, in particular looking to increase the efficiency in the allocation of resources and technical assistance regarding IT systems. The Egmont Secretariat office supports the Committee and all Working Groups and is located in Toronto, Canada. The Committee, Working Groups and Secretariat meet three times per year, including the annual plenary session.
FinCEN continues its work in the Egmont Group to promote effective information sharing and networking. FinCEN sponsors new FIUs for membership in the Group, and has played a key role on projects relating to cross-border, enterprise-wide suspicious transaction information sharing within the financial sector, compiling best practices in FIU security, and advising counterparts on FIU issues relating to FATF recommendations and mutual evaluations.
Egmont Group Plenary Meetings
FIUs of the world