Daily Dash: Dutch Banks Issue Guidelines To Tackle Sex Worker De-Risking

November 28, 2023
The Netherlands has introduced new industry guidance to enable sex workers to open bank accounts, the EU Council has approved a new law on harmonised data rules, and Hong Kong’s Anti-Deception Alliance goes live.

Dutch Banks Issue Guidelines To Tackle Sex Worker De-Risking

The Dutch Banking Association has adopted a new Sector Standard to help sex workers get access to payment accounts. 

This has taken place after negotiations with the central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank, and representatives of the sex work industry. 

According to the association, sex workers have experienced problems opening and maintaining business bank accounts because a lot of payments are made in cash. 

This makes it difficult to recognise when a payment is unusual and may be related to money laundering.

Going forward, the Sector Standard specifies that banks may use sex workers' tax returns to determine where their income comes from. 

So if a sex worker, in addition to accounting and registration with the Chamber of Commerce, can submit the income tax return, or if this is not yet available, the VAT return, this will make it easier to open a bank account. 

"You cannot do business without a bank account,” said Helène Erftemeijer, sector coordinator for anti-money laundering.

“I am therefore pleased that with this Sector Standard, we are making arranging banking matters easier for sex workers.”

EU Council Adopts New Law On Harmonised Data Rules

The European Council has adopted a new regulation on harmonised rules regarding fair access to and use of data. 

The Data Act imposes obligations on manufacturers and service providers to let their users access and reuse the data generated by the use of their products or services. It also allows users to share that data with third parties.

The new law also aims to ease the switching between providers of data processing services. It also puts in place safeguards against unlawful data transfer and provides for the development of interoperability standards for data to be reused between sectors.

Subsequent to the Council's approval, the law will enter into the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks, and will come into force after the 20th day.

Most of its rules shall apply from 20 months from the date of its entry into force.

Hong Kong Launches Anti-Deception Alliance Between Banks, Law Enforcement

The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), with the support of the central bank and the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB), has launched a new initiative known as the Anti-Deception Alliance (ADA).

The ADA aims to improve Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering ecosystem to detect, disrupt and deter scams. It will also strengthen the effectiveness of Hong Kong’s 24/7 stop payment mechanism operated by the HKPF.

By bringing together officers of the police’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre and staff of ten participating banks, the ADA aims to identify potential victims of scams and intercept crime proceeds rapidly.

“The integrated work environment of ADA, together with analytics capabilities of banks driven by our work in AML/CFT Regtech, will boost intelligence sharing, enable swift decision-making and close cooperation among all stakeholders,” said the central bank.

European Payments Council Publishes SPAA Business Terms

The European Payments Council (EPC) has published the business conditions for the SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) scheme.

This provides a default remuneration model for those partaking in the scheme. 

“Together with various stakeholders, we are creating the right conditions for a vibrant European ecosystem for open banking,” said Gijs Boudewijn, managing director of the Dutch Payments Association and co-chair of the SPAA Multi-Stakeholder Group (SPAA MSG).

SPAA includes rules and agreements for account information services and payment initiation services with added value — "premium" — services. 

Banks can offer these premium services to to third-party providers. 

EBA Consults On Crypto Transfer Guidelines

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has launched a public consultation on new guidelines for preventing the abuse of funds and certain crypto-assets transfers for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. 

Stakeholders have until February 26 to respond to these guidelines, which specify the steps that payment service providers and crypto-asset service providers should take to detect missing or incomplete information that accompanies a transfer of funds or crypto-assets. 

The guidelines also detail the procedures that these providers should put in place to manage a transfer of funds or a transfer of crypto-assets that lacks the required information.

The EBA will also hold a virtual public hearing on the consultation paper on January 17, which stakeholders can sign up to here.

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