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Thursday , October 6 2022

CBK tells local banks to Kuwaitize certain vital positions

This post has been read 14982 times!

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 9: According to informed sources, the Central Bank of Kuwait has informed banks that they must Kuwaitize the position of Director of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit. It emphasized the importance of localizing sensitive banking jobs, including senior and middle management, and making the necessary efforts to achieve this, reports Al-Rai daily.

They explained that the Central Bank was initially pushing the banks to present plans to adjust their situation in this regard. However, it later allowed to extend the deadline but it is not likely to extend beyond the year 2023. The Central Bank indicated that the appointment of non-Kuwaitis in leadership positions in general for a limited period should be linked to qualifying Kuwaiti competencies to fill these jobs within the framework of career development plans and the required replacement. Some banks responded by affirming that they have already Kuwaitized such positions, while others responded that they are working on it.

The Central Bank’s moves to localize sensitive jobs include reviewing the banks’ plans individually to ensure they make the required job succession. The position of “Director of Anti- Money Laundering” is the second job that the Central Bank obliges banks to ensure it is occupied by a Kuwaiti, after the position of Director of Strategic Planning and Follow-up Unit, which was approved through supervisory instructions issued in January 2020, related to the establishment of an independent sector to support and follow up the framework of work related to the strategic plan of the banks. It should be noted that all banks have already fulfilled this requirement, and the eye is currently open on risk management as well. In general, the primary role of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit is to ensure that all transfers set at the supervisory ceiling are in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, and compliant with the bank’s internal policies and regulations.

It is noteworthy that an independent unit is assigned in each department to monitor the implementation of the bank’s anti-money laundering policy. It is directly reporting to the bank’s chairman and responsible for implementing the bank’s policies and procedures in combating money laundering and terrorism financing. The sources explained that the Central Bank’s request to Kuwaitize the position of Director of Anti-Money Laundering Unit in the banks comes within its plans aimed at ensuring Kuwaitis fill the banking positions, specifically in the middle and leading executive departments.. They admitted that some banks face great challenges in Kuwaitizing some jobs, especially the specialized ones, including the Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, due to the increasing demand for such jobs versus the availability.

This contributes to fierce competition among them to meet the requirements, and may include courting some talents in other banks with additional financial benefits to persuade them to move out from their banks. All banks are seeking to raise their Kuwaitization rates in various sectors, but on the ground, the obstacles to the abundance of supply cannot be ignored, especially to fill sensitive banking and supervisory jobs. Among the challenges that are difficult to overcome are the conditions of the Central Bank itself in accepting candidates for some jobs due to their failure to meet the specified conditions. This narrows down the banks’ opportunities to choose, and the ability to replace some departments with the targeted supervisory speed. Since April 2021, the Central Bank has requested the banks to provide it with a plan approved by the boards of directors showing a clear path to reach a Kuwaitization rate of at least 70 percent in the senior and middle management, and not only at the level of the bank as a whole, in a manner that clarifies the path it will follow to achieve this replacement by no later than the end of 2023.

The Central Bank’s move in this direction is part of its strategic endeavor to enhance the presence of national competencies in the banking sector at all functional levels, and its constant interest in developing career opportunities for Kuwaiti cadres, while giving national cadres priority in filling leadership positions in technical and administrative fields, and taking measures to train and qualify them to fill those positions.

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