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Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (BES Islands) Act

Service providers on Bonaire, Sint Eustace and Saba (the BES islands) have an important role in the financial markets in preventing financial-economic crime and unethical behavior. For this reason, requirements are established in the Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (BES Islands) Act. The AFM guideline (only available in Dutch) provides further details of the obligations under the Wwft BES and practical examples.

A service provider on the BES islands must, among other things, prevent: 
  • money originating from crime being laundered through the financial system
  • money being used for the financing of terrorism
  • persons and organizations subject to national or international sanctions from participating in the financial system
  • businesses and persons benefiting from fraud and corruption.

Who is subject to AFM Wwft BES supervision?

The AFM exercises Wwft BES supervision on service providers offering the following services:
  • intermediation in the conclusion of life insurance policies against a premium as referred to in the BES Islands Financial Markets Act (Wet financiële markten BES, or ‘Wfm BES’)
  • operating as an investment company as defined in the Wfm BES
  • providing an investment service, defined as:
  1. receiving and forwarding client orders with regard to financial instruments;
  2. executing orders with regard to financial instruments for the account of those clients;
  3. managing an individual capital.
In addition to the AFM guideline, some elements of the Wwft BES are explained further below.

Guidance document on the Wwft BES for service providers

The new guidance document from the AFM provides further explanation on the requirements set out in the Wwft BES for serviceproviders in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Service providers are also offered practical guidance in the form of specific examples.

Know your client

Service providers acting as an intermediary in life insurance must conduct a review of clients whose annual premium is higher than $1,400 or whose lump sum premium is higher than $2,800. These threshold amounts do not apply if there are indications that a client is involved in money laundering or the financing of terrorism. In case of such indications, the service provider is in all cases obliged to carry out a client review.

Obligation to report unusual transactions

Another important obligation concerns the reporting of unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit Netherlands (FIU-Nederland). There are various indicators that have to be used when determining whether a particular situation requires an unusual transaction to be reported. These indicators are listed in appendix A (for the services ‘operating as an investment company’ and ‘providing an investment service’) and appendix B (for the service ‘intermediation in life insurance’) to the Wwft BES Regulation.

Obligation to report under sanction legislation

To prevent activities in contravention of the Sanctions Act (Sanctiewet) 1977 (Sw), service providers must on inception and at regular intervals screen anyone involved in a financial service or transaction (see Section 3.13 (5) Wwft BES - their relations) against the sanction lists stated in the Guideline. If the service provider identifies that a relation corresponds to a natural person, legal person or entity as stated in the Sw, this must be reported immediately to De Nederlandsche Bank. In addition, the service provider must check exactly which order or prohibition applies, as this varies depending on the sanction regulation. It may for instance be the case that the service provider may no longer provide financial services to the client named in the relevant sanction regulation.



There are international sources available which provides further explanation on the requirements set out in the Wwft BES for serviceproviders in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Here you find a selection of these sources: