Lithuania formally submitted the application to host AMLA in Vilnius
Today, November 10th 2023, the official application of Lithuania to host the Anti-Money Laundering Agency (AMLA) in Lithuania signed by Minister of Finance Gintarė Skaistė was submitted to the European Commission.
“Today, we formally submitted to the European Commission the Vilnius application to host AMLA. At the Government level, we have set our ambition to attract the newly created EU money laundering prevention authority to Lithuania, consistently working on this goal for more than two years, mobilising support of other countries for the candidacy of Vilnius. Considering Lithuania’s advantages – accumulated risk management competencies of financial sector in the public sector, large community of compliance experts, convenient location of Vilnius, cultural diversity and the country’s good reputation in managing risks in both the traditional financial sector and the Fintech segment – we are confident that Vilnius would be the best home for the newly created EU money laundering prevention authority”, stressed Minister of Finance Gintarė Skaistė.
According to the Minister, Lithuania is ready to offer high-quality education, healthcare system services to AMLA employees and their families, integration into the dynamic and multicultural Vilnius labour market, opportunities to realise its potential in one of the greenest European capitals. Lithuania is also ready to offer modern premises meeting the highest quality standards to the new agency.
The deadline for submitting formal applications to the call for the establishment of AMLA is 10 November. The applications submitted by the Member States will be evaluated by the European Commission in parallel with the discussions between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the final decision-making model. The winner of the establishment of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Authority is expected to be announced in the coming months.
The submission of the formal application to host AMLA in Vilnius was approved by the Government on 11 October.
Vilnius – an exceptionally good location for AMLA
One of the key advantages of Vilnius, as future home for AMLA, – successful experience in managing money laundering risks and a high prevention implementation culture, which is characterised by exceptional cooperation between the public and private sectors. Continuous improvement of the risk management system, implementation of international recommendations, proactive search for the best solutions.
Lithuania is considered to be one of the countries best managing money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and according to the Basel AML Index, in 2022 Lithuania ranked among top 5 countries with the lowest risk in the world. At the same time, among the countries that have expressed their willingness to participate in the call for AMLA seat, Lithuania is in the first position, according to the Basel Index.
Lithuania is one of the leading Fintech countries, established as an international Fintech hub. Lithuania has more than 250 Fintech companies, bringing together more than 7 thousand specialists, and their activities range from cross-border payments and transfers, digital banking, online investments to peer-to-peer borrowing, crowdfunding instrument management, etc. In addition, the National Development Plan for the Fintech Sector for 2023-2028 will help to ensure that Lithuania’s leadership in this sector is sustainable and continuous, promoting the quality development of Fintech by consolidating the position of the Centre of Excellence in Europe.
The rapid expansion of the FinTech sector also strengthens the market and public sector ecosystem, which is characterised by the competences of regulators and supervisors. Lithuania has good regulatory practice in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other risks. Moreover, the Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Money Laundering (CEPML), established by the Ministry of Finance together with the Bank of Lithuania and the largest market participants, plays a very significant role.
However, a key factor of Lithuania’s ecosystem is people. There are over 10 thousand specialists working in the field of anti-money laundering in Lithuania. The efforts are made for the Lithuanian talent community to constantly grow and improve, therefore, the Ministry of Finance, CEPML and Mykolas Riomeris University have established a programme for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, which ensures the entry of new qualified professionals into the market. As the training of specialists, retraining and development of the financial technology sector continues, the talent base in Lithuania will continue to expand.
Since the authority will employ specialists from all over Europe, other aspects are also important when choosing the location, such as the fact that Vilnius, as the greenest capital of Europe, can offer a high quality of life with a wide range of green spaces. In the capital of the country, we have high quality healthcare and social services, a multilingual education system that meets the highest standards, a dynamic and active labour market. As a country, Lithuania has a high level of foreign language proficiency. Vilnius can offer Western quality of work and life to professionals across Europe in a city characterised by price competitiveness as compared to other Western capitals or major cities.
AMLA – is beneficial for Lithuania
The establishment of AMLA in Vilnius would be a strong quality mark, confirming Lithuania’s achievements in this field and evaluating the multi-annual achievements of the public sector and market participants. At the same time, AMLA’s entry into Lithuania would complement the ecosystem of the Lithuanian financial sector – AMLA would be of utmost importance for both the public and private sectors.
Finally, AMLA would also bring economic benefits in Vilnius, as the authority could eventually employ about 400 well-paid specialists. The fact that some of the professionals move from Europe, come with families, means that the establishment of the institution in the capital would provide additional impetus to the economy and individual sectors of the city and the country.
At European level, the agency’s establishment initiative was shown in 2021. A consensus on where AMLA will be located and what specific mandate is expected be reached at EU level by the end of this year, and the new authority is expected to start work in the first half of next year.
AMLA will be the main authority to ensure a coherent and unified framework for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing in the EU financial sector and to coordinate actions with national supervisory authorities in the Member States.
Please note that on 28 September the EC officially launched a call for EU Member States to apply for the establishment of AMLA by the deadline of 10 November. For the first time, the proposal to establish a new EU-level Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Authority, as the main supervisor of the financial sector and in coordination of actions with the national supervisory authorities of EU Member States, was presented on 20 July 2021.
Find more info about Lithuania’s candidacy for AMLA