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The Mauritius Bankers Association was first established in 1967 as an association of the commercial banks authorised to conduct banking business in Mauritius. In 2001, it changed its status to that of a company and was thus incorporated as a non-profit making public company, limited by guarantee, whose main objectives are:
• The protection, development and represtirt-aek?.? o f shp rights and interests of its members;
• The support of the interests of its members in their relations with public or government bodies;
• The provision of a platform to facilitate the study of all issues and problems relating to the banking and finance business;
• The promotion and establishment of conditions conducive to competitive, profitable and responsible banking and finance business; and
• The encouragement of the study of issues affecting the science of banking and finance and any field related to the banking business.
Mauritius has a long tradition of commercial banking dating back to 1812, that is, just after the British took over from the French. As at 30th December 2003, the domestic commercial banking sector in Mauritius comprised of 10 Category 1 banks, made up of five local banks, four branches of foreign banks and one foreign owned bank incorporated locally (Please refer to Directory Listing in Appendix). All banks operating locally must abide by the Code of Banking Practice, whereby banks are expected to act fairly in their dealings with customers.
The legal framework for banking business is embodied in the Banking Act 1988. Under the FSD Act 2001, consequential amendments were brought to section 46 of the Banking Act 1988 whereby Domestic Banks are now defined as Category 1 Banks having a Category 1 banking licence and offshore banks are now defined as Category 2 banks with a Category 2 banking licence. The banking legislation provides for prudential regulations with respect to banks' concentration of risk, weighted capital adequacy ratio, income recognition and clarification of loans and advances for provisioning purposes, maintenance of accounting and other records and internal control systems.
The financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2002
Pursuing its will to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and to promote a clean and reputable financial centre, the Government of Mauritius introduced a series of legislation in early 2002, namely the Prevention of Corruption Act, The prevention of Terrorism Act and the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act under which the Financial Intelligence Unit was set up.
Financial intelligence Unit (FM)
In essence, the FIU is a specialised organisation that receives, analyses, assess and disseminates financial intelligence on suspected money laundering and terrorist activity financing. Such organisations form an important element of a modern Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and they are proliferating worldwide.
The FSD Act consolidates our existing regulatory and supervision frameworks while simultaneously putting in place a unified regulatory framework for the financial services sector. This new legislation also reflects changes made in line with initiatives of international bodies such as OECD, FATF, UN Offshore Forum and core principles of international supervisors (WS, 10SCO, OGIS).
The advantages of the single regulatory system for a small island economy like Mauritius are many. First, it fills the supervisory gaps across the range of financial activities on offer in Mauritius. Prior to the enactment of the Financial Services Development Act, regulatory oversight extended only over the banking, insurance, securities and offshore services, leaving certain sectors as fund management, pensions funds, leasing companies as well as financial intermediaries completely unregulated or only partially regulated. These are high-risk sectors not only to depositors and investors but also to the whole stability of the financial system.