THE SIAO PARTNERS AML POLICY
SIAO Partners is committed to the prevention of ML/TF. In this regard, the Firm shall put in place adequate internal control measures, which shall be clearly communicated to all staff, ensure Clients due diligence and monitoring of high risk Clients with respect to their demand for our services, put in place procedures for recognizing and reporting suspicious activities and documents appropriately, and that all such Clients records and transactions are in line with best practice.
CUSTOMER ACCEPTANCE POLICY (CAP)
SIAO Partners Clients Acceptance Policy is as set out in the Firm’s KYC Manual. For avoidance of doubt, the Firm shall accept Clients after due verification of Clients’ identities, address and/or place of business, after ascertaining their source of income/funds and after considering the level of risks they pose to the Firm. Care will be taken to apply appropriate level of due diligence, depending on Clients’ risk profiles. Clients whose identity cannot be verified; who are unable to provide documents required for address verification shall be so informed to regularize, after which failure to oblige the Firm will be viewed as non-co-operation on the part of such Clients. The Firm shall not establish relationship with such Clients. SIAO will not engage or provide services to anonymous or fictitious Clients.
INTERNAL CONTROLS AND COMMUNICATION OF POLICIES
The Internal Control Department shall ensure that policies, procedures and controls including policies on accountability, dual control, levels of authority etc, are put in place for the purpose of a sound control environment such that the Firm is protected from money laundering and terrorist financing, fraud and other related risk exposures.
Internal Control Unit will also ensure that the compliance functions in the Firm conform to the Firm’s internal policies and procedures. Whilst the Compliance Unit is to ensure communication of rules from external laws and regulations to all staff and ensure compliance with these rules through Heads of Department and the Compliance Officer, monitoring for compliance shall be done in conjunction with the Internal Audit and Control.
Policies and procedures shall be communicated by way of Policy Manuals and Staff Manuals, circulated to all staff through the Firm’s intranet or through other communication media available in the Firm.
CUSTOMER DUE DILIGENCE AND MONITORING
The Firm shall put in place Clients Due Diligence Procedures which shall be monitored for compliance by the Compliance Unit. Control breaches with respect to Clients Due Diligence Procedures such as incomplete documentations should
be periodically reported to the CCO for follow-up and remedial actions. Disciplinary actions shall be taken against staff who deliberately flout the policy & procedures. The Firm shall terminate its relationship with any Client who refuses to provide due diligence information and report such as suspicious activity to SCUML.
SIAO Partners Due Diligence Procedures for accepting new Clients and for on-going relationships are as specified in this Manual.
RECOGNITION AND REPORTING OF SUSPICION
SIAO Partners shall ensure reporting of all suspicious transactions, including attempted transactions regardless of the amount involved. The Firm shall designate an AML/CFT Compliance Officer or a Money Laundering Reporting Officer to supervise the monitoring and reporting of suspicious transactions. He shall be alert to various patterns of conduct that have been known to be suggestive of money laundering and maintain a checklist of such transactions which would be disseminated to the relevant staff.
Recognition and reporting of suspicion is the responsibility of every staff of the Firm. Reporting of suspicion shall be done in specified reporting format to the CCO or the MLRO who shall ensure a review of such report and keep an appropriate record of actions taken. The Firm and indeed the entire staff shall maintain confidentiality in respect of such investigation and any suspicious transaction report that may be filed with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and/or any other appropriate authority.
AWARENESS RAISING AND TRAINING
SIAO Partners shall develop ongoing training programs for employees, the Compliance Officer and the Partners. This is to ensure that everyone is informed of new developments, including information on current ML and FT techniques, methods and trends; and that there is a clear explanation of all aspects of AML/CFT laws and obligations, and in particular, requirements concerning Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR).
SIAO Partners shall keep records of Clients transactions for a minimum period of 10 years whether or not the Clients have ceased business relationship with the Firm. The Firm shall maintain Clients records of identification data, engagement files and business correspondence for the designated period following the termination of engagement or business relationship and shall make available such records as may be required by the regulators and relevant agencies from time-to-time. Where there is an on-going litigation case in court or investigation on a transaction, related record shall be kept until such a case is closed or terminated.
SIAO PARTNERS POLICY ON POLITICALLY EXPOSED PERSONS (PEPS)
SIAO Partners shall ensure, in addition to performing CDD measures, appropriate risk management systems to determine whether a potential Client or existing Client or the beneficial-owner is a politically Exposed Person (PEP).
Board of Partners approval shall be obtained before establishing business relationships with PEP or continuing relationship with an existing Client or beneficial owner who becomes a PEP.
SIAO Partners shall take all reasonable means to establish source of wealth and funds of Client or beneficial owners identified as PEP.
For the purpose of this policy, PEP means: an individual in Nigeria who has been entrusted with prominent public functions or by a foreign country including among others:
- Head of State or Government
- Senior Politicians
- Senior Government Official
- Senior Judicial Officials
- Senior Military Officers
- Senior Executive of State owned corporate and
- Important political party officials.
SANCTIONED ENTITIES AND INDIVIDUAL POLICY
SIAO shall at all times prior to provision of service, screen potential clients against designated sanction lists as part of its CDD measure.
The designated lists include but are not limited to:
- United Nations Security Council List
- OFAC List
- FATF List
- GIABA List
- NFIU Sanction List
- SCUML Sanction List
- CBN Sanction List
It is part of our policy to deny provision of service to anyone or any entity whose name matches the designated list and in addition, file a Suspicious Transaction Report to SCUML.
- DISPLAY OF CAUTIONARY NOTICE POLICY
It is our policy to display cautionary notice on the prohibition of money laundering activities and the Firm’s reporting responsibilities to the necessary enforcement agencies. This notice shall be displayed conspicuously around the office of the Firm.
The cautionary notice shall relate to Foreign Transfer Report (FTR), Currency Transaction Report (CTR) and Suspicious Transaction Report (STR).
ACCOUNTABILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
THE ROLE OF THE BOARD OF PARTNERS
The role of the Board of Partners is to assume overall accountability for compliance performance. The BOP is responsible for the following:
- Develop an inherently compliant business strategy.
- Confirm and sign-off the compliance strategy, AML/CFT Policy, Structure and Process.
- Develop a compliance culture.
- Review feedback from the Managing Partner (MP) and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to ensure that concerns are properly addressed.
THE ROLE OF MP
The MP’s role is to provide demonstrable support to the CCO with the development of a compliance culture. The MP’s responsibilities include:
- Issue a letter to all staff setting out the importance of the compliance function.
- Review periodic reports from the CCO and ensure that concerns are properly addressed.
- Provide feedback to the Board of Partners regarding compliance issues.
- Ensure that the CCO has sufficient resources for the discharge of his duties.
- Appraise the performance of the CCO.
THE ROLE OF THE CCO
The CCO is responsible for the development, communication, leadership and implementation of the compliance strategy, policy, structure and process throughout the Firm. His responsibilities amongst others include:
- Responsible for the overall Management of the Firm’s compliance function.
- In conjunction with Management, develops the compliance strategy, policy, structure and process.
- Establish communication line with Management in order to continuously monitor compliance.
- Develop a strategy and roll-out plan for the implementation of an effective compliance function.
- Prepare periodic reports on compliance related matters, including progress against plan, findings from monitoring and recommendations, for review by the MP.
- Report non-compliance and other potential exposures to the MP immediately, and establish prompt mechanisms for the resolution thereof.
- Prepare periodic reports on compliance matters and, if required, present to the Board of Partners.
- Attend and present to the Management on compliance matters, if required.
- Communicate with and develop a cordial relationship with the regulators.
- Establish a compliance culture in SIAO Partners through the development of an appropriate compliance awareness program.
- Ensure that management incorporates regulatory requirements into operational procedures manuals.
- In conjunction with the Human Resource Department, ensure that compliance staff are trained on a continuous basis in order to ensure that they have adequate technical knowledge in order to understand the regulatory framework that applies to SIAO Partners, as well as the risks to which it is exposed.
- Compile and maintain a comprehensive compliance manual in conjunction with line management.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT
- Human Resource Department shall develop and communicate employment policies and procedures.
- Ensure adequate screening procedures to ensure high standards when hiring employees.
- It shall develop procedures to ensuring implementation of Know Your Employees (KYE) principles as set out in this Manual.
- It shall in conjunction with the Compliance Unit develop KYC/KYE policies and procedures for the Firm, including procedures for accepting new engagements and control measures for ensuring compliance.
- It shall organize compliance trainings in conjunction with Compliance Unit.
THE ROLE OF HEADS OF DEPARTMENT
All Departmental Heads are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulatory requirements applicable to their business/departments and are to ensure that all transactions and activities are carried out in accordance with the statutory demands. In summary, they are to:
- Follow procedures as documented in Operational and Compliance Procedures Manuals.
- Raise concerns when compliance problems are identified or suspected by reporting to the CCO.
THE ROLE OF CLIENT-FACING STAFF
The Client-facing staff are the first line of contacts with our business clients. Consequently, they have responsibilities to:
- Collect adequate information required for Customer Due Diligence.
- Establish Directors or owners of the business.
- Establish whether the Director or owner of such is a PEP.
- Advise the Compliance Unit whenever there is a reason to file STR.
THE ROLE OF THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT
The Finance Department will have the responsibility to compile information for the purpose of rendering statutory reports which are:
- Suspicious Transactions Report
- Currency Transaction Report
- Foreign Transfer Report