Client Alert

APG: Cook Islands Anti-laundering Program is Among the Best

As you plan for the highest degree of asset protection, you may be considering working with a range of international financial service providers. However, there may be many risks as some countries are targeted as tax havens or centers of money laundering.

One area that is emerging in the forefront of financial security in this era: the Cook Islands. A report from the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (the APG) found that the Cook Islands has one of the best anti-laundering regimes in the Pacific region, countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The APG Report

The APG is part of the larger Financial Action Task Force, or FATF – an international and inter-governmental organization that promotes secure global financial services that minimize money laundering and the financing of terrorism all over the world.

According to the FATF, it’s crucial to implement these anti-laundering efforts to protect the financial services industry from abuse, strengthening its integrity and security. To help countries be successful in this effort, the FATF has released a set of 11 “Immediate Outcomes,” representing goals that when met, should adequately curb laundering and financing of terrorist operations.

In the APG’s recent Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) with the Cook Islands released this fall, it is noted that of these 11 Immediate Outcomes, the Cook Islands received:

Five successful ratings
Four moderate ratings
Two poor ratings
As a result, the Cook Islands was one of only two countries in the APG that was placed in the organizations “regular” follow up process.

What Does This Mean For You?

The Cook Islands’ MER is anticipated to be an outstanding signifier of the country’s financial stability, expected to be recognized internationally as a safe and secure option for governments, businesses, institutions and affluent individuals who wish to secure their assets internationally.

You can never be too safe when considering asset protection options. As minimizing taxes is becoming a less reliable option, the Cook Islands’ strategy of focusing on security and protection in the long term may be a strong choice for many Americans who are looking to protect their assets abroad. While the APG’s assessment is not complete and finalized, this MER is a very positive sign regarding the Cook Islands’ viability as an option in financial security.

Posted in Client Alert, Trust Advisement.