Saudi Arabia set rules to streamline working of forex offices

Forex offices in the Kingdom are banned from doing any other business not approved by SAMA

  
An employee counts Saudi Riyals bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. Image for illustrative purposes.

An employee counts Saudi Riyals bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

JEDDAH — Authorities have set new rules to streamline the functioning of forex offices in the Kingdom. These rules are part of the government efforts to fight money laundering and terror financing and protect customers’ rights.

The new rules include a ban on the forex business without a licence from the Kingdom’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). The licence is valid for five years and should be renewed six months before its expiry, influential Arabic daily Okaz reported on Saturday.

According to the new regulations that will take effect in a month’s time, hotels and authorized tourism offices are allowed to exchange foreign currencies that will have later to be sold to banks or licenced forex offices in line with anti-money laundering rules, the report said.

Forex offices are banned from doing any other business not approved by SAMA including managing banking accounts, issuing letters of guarantee, accepting deposits, or practicing speculation in currency, metals and stocks.

Their responsibilities include commitment to instructions against money laundering and terror funding, risk management and exposing dubious and fraudulent dealings.

Regulations for forex trade also require compliance with rules of employing Saudi nationals and setting up an administrative structure.

The forex businesses have to put in place an appropriate work system protecting customers from fraud risks and loss of privacy as well as displaying clear billboards highlighting customers’ rights and addressing complaints in seven days. Violations are punishable by a warning letter up to licence revocation.

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