Last Friday, the Head of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) addressed members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham) on recent developments in the financial sector. Substantial work has been done to restore the reputation of the Latvian financial sector, however, much needs to be done to support the sector, including developing capital markets and introducing new technologies. Among key FCMC tasks is communication, both international and local, to minimize negative impact on investors willing to do business in Latvia.
According to Santa Purgaile, Head of FCMC, the transformation of the financial sector has already taken place with restoring the reputation of Latvia’s financial sector and introducing new principles, stability and balanced development. However much still remains to be done in order to implementing a compliance culture. Directions of further transformation include improving cooperation and communication among various authorities and institutions, cooperation and exchange of information between supervisors within the European Union and further implementation of Moneyval recommendations in Latvia.
AmCham members were eager to find out ways how to address challenges in cooperation between banks and corporate customers. Ms. Purgaile explained that banks should follow essential criteria such as: viability, sustainability, compliance wih regulatory requirements, change of target markets and target customers as well as implementation of alternative business lines and services. To ensure transparency the financial market participants should introduce a new compliance culture and use “Consult first” approach in the communication with customers.
According to Ms. Purgaile: “Geographically and geopolitically, Latvia is a front-runner carrying out radical changes in its financial sector, which will serve as a competitive advantage in the future. When other countries will need to deal with above changes, we will have already done this. This will soon be the new normal for entire Europe.”
She went on to say: “We want to see foreign investments come into Latvia. There is a matrix of risk evaluation, and we are preparing a manual for banks to help assess risks associated with non-resident customers better.”
According to Ingrida Karina-Berzina, AmCham President: “AmCham strongly supports Latvia’s efforts to become a front-runner in the fight against financial crimes. However, the application of the new regulatory framework is affecting the ability of legitimate businesses, investors, and international employees to access banking services.”
The event was co-hosted by Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns Law Office.
AmCham speaks on behalf of more than 150 leading U.S. and international companies in Latvia. AmCham is committed to fostering trade, investment, partnership and friendship between the U.S and Latvia and it serves as a business, knowledge, networking and policy forum for its members and partners. AmCham's actions are grounded in four core values: integrity, responsibility, cooperation and excellence.