About the Financial Reporting Authority

The FRA is a product of evolution.  The 1989 Financial Investigation Unit, was essentially one or two police officers working from an office in police headquarters. By 1998, it had progressed little but it had achieved some degree of ‘independence’ by acquiring non-police accommodation, and some ancillaries were funded by the Portfolio of Legal Affairs.  By year 2000, it had undergone a name change to the Financial Reporting Unit (FRU). The Unit had grown to around 12 staff, one being a legal advisor, and the Head of Unit had become a civilian post.  Line management for operational work had inclined toward the office of the Hon. Attorney General. In January 2004, with the introduction of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law, the FRU became the Financial Reporting Authority (FRA).  The role of the Unit therefore changed to become receiving, analysing and disemination of financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies and overseas FIUs.  It was no longer permitted to conduct investigations which is now within the exclusive purview of the police.  Briefly that:

 

  • There was a healthy review of the  work undertaken by each subsequent player in the process from SAR to courtroom and,
  • As the majority of SARs are based upon “suspicion” not every piece of confidential financial information needed to end up automatically in a police database.

 

Both attributes are instrumental in the due process of justice and the latter an important consideration in the FIU being styled as a helpful ‘buffer’ type body between the confidential needs of a vigorous, competitive financial industry and combating crime by law enforcement.

 

The FRA role is to confidentially receive, analyse and deal with the outcomes of those processes as authorised by the law.  Thus, the confidentiality of the financial information is preserved by remaining within the FRA or alternatively by the FRA initiating a course of action, e.g. a criminal investigation, by another body in the AML/CFT regime. It is a civilian body housed in office space designed for commercial use but rented by the Cayman Islands Government.  It enjoys a close but arms length relationship with agencies it is authorised by law to undertake its work.

 

Some of the legal provisions have been included in a spirit of enhancing a public awareness of responsibilities.  However, this outline does not purport to give legal advice and it is no substitute for reference to the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (2008).