Riyadh – MENA Herald: Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, concluded the 8th Compliance & Anti Money Laundering (AML) Seminar in Saudi Arabia. The seminar is held in partnership with the Institute of Finance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and under the patronage of H.E. Abdulaziz Al-Furaih, Vice Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).

Ayman Aboabah, Chief Executive Officer, Tamkeen Technologies, spoke on the second day about conflict of interest, business ethics, integrity and transparency. “A clear code of ethics should be developed that covers discriminations, security of information, insider trading, and relationship with partners. We need to see more preventive regulations not only penalty based regulations in GCC and beyond. Best practice implementation means prevention better than cure. Excellence in corporate compliance contributes to enhance society ethics,” he said.

Alissa Amico, Managing Director, Govern Centre, said: “Unifying the requirements of listed companies and family companies will help create a solid corporate governance culture. Brining the private sector to the decision making process will also provide a better exchange of best practice in the governance area,” she pointed out.

Shahzad Khan, Group Head of Corporate Governance & Compliance, Mubadala, explained that MENA companies need to have the right checks and balances. “MENA boards should have more independent directors with functional expertise across economic sectors and we need to see more training rolled out concerning the board’s role,” he noted.

Basem Odeh, Chairman, Insurance Executive Committee, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chief Executive Officer, Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance, said: “The misconception about compliance should be addressed by the CEOs and boards. Developing the right culture of compliance is critical in MENA. Compliance should be perceived as a protection layer for the company rather than a burden or a task. The role of the executive committee is crucial to translate the board’s strategy.”

Jennifer Christianson, Senior Manager, Assurance, FIDS, Ernst & Young, said: “The human element is critical when it comes to technological information processing and therefore awareness is crucial to ensure that systems are supervised.”

Husam Al-Suliman, Senior Vice President, Head of Information Security, Riyad Bank, said: “Cyber-attacks are constantly using low cost methods to target internet users and companies. Hackers have developed their ways to access secure servers and they are now very sophisticated. We need to ensure that best international practice is maintained and that information prioritization is properly done.”

Olivier Merlan, Chief Analysis Officer, i-DETECT , said: “Technology poses an opportunity and a risk as well. Although technology can do a lot to combat cyber-crime, we need to roll out proper training programs for human resources to ensure that technology complements the human skillset.”