Media Release: 20 March 2020 - Financial Regulator's Response to Covid-19
The Financial Supervisory Commission is an independent government agency that supervises businesses across the financial industry, including the Banks.
The Commission is accountable to the DPM Honourable Mark Brown, as Minister of Finance, for the performance of its functions.
The Financial Supervisor’s primary role is to maintain the safety and soundness of Financial Institutions so that the Cook Islands community can have confidence that the Banks will meet their financial obligations.
In this regard, FSC Commissioner, Louise Wittwer stated:
While the Cook Islands, and rest of the world, deal with the unprecedented global pandemic Covid-19, the Financial Supervisory Commission has the utmost confidence that the Cook Islands financial system is in a sound position, with strong capital and liquidity, to get through this crisis. Unprecedented Times are upon us, but that does not mean we have not planned for Unprecedented Times. It is standard procedure for the FSC to scenario test the outcome of tourism stopping overnight, as occurred in Samoa in 2009 following the tsunami. And likewise, we regularly monitor the Bank’s Business Continuity Plan’s to ensure that the Cook Islands people would continue to have access to their banking services should Te Ara Maire Nui Drive be wiped out by a natural disaster.
The Commission is working in tandem with our licensed Banks to ensure that they meet the commitment they have made to the Cook Islands Government in respect to the Covid-19 Economic Response Package, released by my Minister, on Wednesday evening. I most certainly appreciate that the Bank’s need time to put in place the appropriate mechanisms to properly provide these services to their customers. In this regard, the Commission seeks the public’s patience please.
I understand that there is a lot of unease and angst in the community at this challenging time, but I wish to make it very clear to the Cook Islands people that we are here to ensure that the Bank’s honour the commitment they have made to the Crown in respect to our Covid-19 Economic Response Package. To that end, the Commission is providing an avenue for Cook Islanders to raise any concerns, issues or complaints they may have in respect to the response received from their bank, in Cook Islands Maori or English, to these contacts:
For ANZ Bank
For BCI Bank
For BSP Bank
APEC Financial Regulators Training Initiative Regional Seminar on Regulation and Supervision of Financial Services through Mobile Electronic Money and other Digital Payments
Mutual Evaluation Report 2018
The Cook Islands received a very positive Mutual Evaluation Report for their 2017/2018 mutual evaluation by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) which was published on 22 October 2018. The Commission was the lead agency for the Cook Islands mutual evaluation.
The Cook Islands has been rated one of the best in the world for technical compliance with 38 out of the 40 FATF Recommendations receiving Largely Compliant or Compliant. In terms of the implementation and effectiveness of its laws and systems when measured against the FATF’s 11 Immediate Outcomes, the Cook Islands attained 5 substantial ratings, 4 moderate ratings and 2 low ratings. This resulted in the Cook Islands being one of only three jurisdictions within the APG membership to be placed in the “regular” follow up process, a very rare achievement.
This outstanding result for the Cook Islands has been achieved through the commitment and hard work of the Cook Islands government, its crown agencies and the private sector. It is anticipated that the Cook Islands’ MER will be recognised internationally, given its independence and comprehensive nature, whilst giving great comfort to governments, institutions and businesses alike when dealing with the Cook Islands and its financial services industry. The published Mutual Evaluation Report can be read and downloaded here.
National Risk Assessment Report
The Board and Management are pleased to publish the National Risk Assessment Report 2015 on money laundering, terrorism financing and serious offences in the Cook Islands, adopted by Cabinet on 10 March 2015.