Are there business classes at your school or university?

As I pen this note to my 2 faithful readers,I am watching an episode of “Saved by the Bell”. The students were in class and all had presentations to make to explore a real business that they will start.

After each presentation,the teacher asked if the student if the really believed in the product? When the response was positive , the teacher gave each student an envelope with $100 USD as seed money. He told them to plant that seed and make it grow. He reminded the students to remain motivated.

The next order of business was to get a name for it ,followed by appointment of Presidents. Initially the friends ,the stars of the show ,decided to make “friendship bracelets “. The students believed that their ideas were worth millions. After one week,the students had to explain the progress of their respective businesses.the students reported on net profits and marketing strategies.

I was amazed that such a course existed and the time frame was in the 90’s. This will make a great change to our economy in Trinidad. Students will become empowered,and after graduating they can pursue their business full time . There many degree holders who are unemployed because they lack soft skills , or income generating skills.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad.She specialises in AML/CFT and Fraud Risk Management . Website : http://asydneygroup.com.

What’s app 868 484-7778

Instagram @asydneygroup.com

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Time is very important in the Rat Race

He shouted profanities at each passerby and they crossed the street in fear or in search of safety. He did not appear to be homeless because his clothes looked clean and he was walking with a sense of direction,unlike homeless persons who tend to wander.

I hastily crossed as I usually do to avoid vehicles splashing water on me. “Run” he screamed and then repeated himself. He asked who did I think I was ? I then asked myself silently . We were walking on parallel sides of the street but I heard him clearly. He said “You are in a rat race,time, time,time “. He was obviously annoyed by the working class. He said “Run to get to your jobs, time to get to work,time to sleep, time to eat.” He exclaimed that time was our god.

I crossed Independence Square and I continued walking down Charlotte Street. I thought that I lost him,he then sped past me and continued his soliloquy. He said “Render unto Caesar, what is due to him”. I must admit that everything that he said was true. As he disappeared into a supermarket,I noticed the hardened, visible veins on his legs.

I then reflected that every day the working masses sell their time for a bribe to forget their dreams. Their ambitions are eroded by “Conflict of Interest” clauses in their employment contracts. Get out the rat race.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad.She specialises in AML/CFT and Fraud Risk Management . Website : http://asydneygroup.com.

What’s app 868 484-7778

Instagram @asydneygroup.com

 

Take the little you have and make it work

Start where you are with what you have. Despise not the day of small beginnings. Use the little salary that you currently have to fund your dream.Dreams are expensive. Every month put aside cash to invest in your business.
Learn to cut costs,such as rent ,cell phone bills. Perform a monthly audit to see where your money goes.Then look at ways to spend less. Once the item is in good working condition do not afraid to buy it used. Try not to make excuses as to why you are not living your dreams. You cannot learn business by reading books or watching videos . You must actually start the business. Promote your business and reinvest profits in your own business.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago and she specializes in Anti Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism . See the website http://asydneygroup.com and Instgram @asydneygrouptt WhatsApp 868 484-7778

 

There are no dead end jobs,just dead end people:It is an adventure to be alive

Today is a present. Are you alive or just living ? Bills ,bills ,bills. I wish the person who invented bills will choke on his saliva. Bills are a huge inconvenience to me. But working towards generating funds to pay these bills is fun. In the absence of he responsibility to pay bills,some people may never enter into the workforce. Nevertheless,it is a blessing to be on your way to work. Some people are not economically active. Look at it as a quest. You are on a journey to make money. Do not look at it as going to your dead end job. A wise man told me that there are “…No dead end jobs,just dead end people “. Do not resent your employer,after all  the company is paying your bills,sending your kids to school. For the entrepreneurs out there,think of your job as your investor. I encourage you to view your day as an adventure,just like something I heard in the movie Peter Pan ,the version with Robin Williams.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. See the website http://asydneygroup.com .

What’s app 1 868 484-7778

Instagram :@asydneygrouptt

You created your own misfortune by not believing in yourself

Saturday morning cartoons make me feel alive.I prepared pancakes, sausages and eggs for breakfast and I watched cartoons from the 90s. 

In the evening time,I watched an episode of Johnny Bravo,where a series of unfortunate things happened to him as he lusted after yet another woman. It could have been a heat flash,but Dionne Warwick appeared in a vision to him. She warned Johnny that his failure to believe in himself and his ability to successfully pursue the woman was the cause of his perceived bad luck.

It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. In a cartoon ,a movie,a child . Just think of it as the universe’s way of speaking to you.

Believe in yourself.Believe in your dreams.Believe in your ability to execute the project. Never give up.Trust the process.

Do not let your own doubt cause you to experience bad luck.Just believe.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad, she specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. 

See the website : http://asydneygroup.com

What’s app only 1 868 484-7777

Instagram @asydneygrouptt

The power of human….resources,always seek advice

The wise always seek counsel before making decisions. In the manufacturing process of making decisions,the successful person will conceptualize the idea,conduct research then ask about the possible difficulties of the proposed decision. The words of advice received are the raw material used by the successful person to make decisions. 

The successful person understands the power of the human mind. It is an amazing instrument that can be used to solve great problems . Other successful people take delight in offering advice. They must,however be satisfied that the advice will be put to great use . For instance,in the book the Twelve Steps, the character created by Jim Rohn made a game of pretending to be the caretaker of a large mansion and told a middle age man of the 12 pillars of success. 

Please do not keep your ideas to yourself. Seek advice from people who are where you want to be.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad. She specialises in financial crimes and is a certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist .

Website : http://asydneygroup.com

Facebook page: Sydney Group

Instagram : @asydneygrouptt

Whats app : 484-7778

How to deal with angry customers who insult you? A message to all those employed in the service industry and hospitality industry

I am well on my way to reading one book every week  pursuant to my new year’s resolution. This week, I am exploring “The magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. In one chapter he narrates a  story of an irate guest at a hotel who sent a telegram to reserve a room for a single occupant but who came to the hotel clerk requesting  hotel room with double occupancy. The customer insulted the clerk threatening to have him fired and questioned his intelligence. The young clerk apologized but declared that he was merely following instructions.

The author was next in line to deal with the clerk but was pleasantly surprised when the clerk greeted him warmly. The author told the clerk that he admired the way that he dealt with the previous customer. The clerk stated that he refused to be infuriated by a customer like that, he empathised with the man and supposed that he was having marital problems and that the man used him as a scapegoat to feel superior. The clerk added that “…underneath he is  probably a nice guy, most folks are…”

The author then suggested that we remember this statement the next time someone “declares war on us. He said the best way to deal with situations like this is to let the other person say their piece, then forget about it”.

We have nothing to lose by following this approach. Instead of responding to their insults , especially for those of us who work in the service industry, it is wise to hold our tongue. There is nothing to gain by charging with bitter words. The other person may in fact be experiencing some trying times and may simply want attention. Although you may find that your minimum wage does not pay you enough to take insults, I am sure by the following week that you will forget the exchange of words.

 

 

 

 

Are Lawyers required to comply with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago?

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 “there is no evidence that the legal profession complies with AML/CFT measures in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a serious deficiency having regard for the significant role played by these professional as financial intermediaries (gatekeepers) in introducing and facilitating such a large percentage of financial transactions”.

Gatekeepers are professionals who can facilitate the entry of illicit money into the financial system . These professionals include: Accountants, Auditors, Lawyers, Notaries, Company Formation Agents.

In AML CFT terminology, lawyers fall under the umbrella term DNFB-Designated Non Financial Businesses and Professions.

The First Schedule of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) captures lawyers as listed businesses but states that the lawyer is only accountable when performing the following functions on behalf of a client:

a)Buying and selling real estate;

b)Managing of client money, securities and other assets;

c)Management of banking, savings or securities and other assets;

d)Organization of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies;

e)Creation, operation or management of legal persons or arrangements, and buying and selling of business entities.

Lawyers are susceptible to being used as a conduit to money launderers to facilitate their nefarious purposes.1

It is therefore imperative that local attorneys understand their AML/CFT obligations and comply with the FIU to safeguard their practice and to retain their reputation.

Which lawyers are at risk?

Sole practitioners, small firms and large firms are all plagued by the risk of being used by money launderers and perpetrators of other financial crimes. A risk assessment ought to be conducted to ensure that measures are put in place that are commensurate with the risks posed by the customer.

What are attorneys required to do?

  • Register with the FIU;
  • Create a Compliance Program;
  • Appoint a Compliance Officer;
  • Submit a Fit and Proper Form for the Compliance Officer to be approved by the FIU;
  • Train staff on the Compliance Program;
  • Receive internal suspicious activity and transaction memos from staff;
  • Report Suspicious Activity in the SAR/STR to the FIU;
  • Undergo Continuous training;
  • Conduct an annual internal review of the Compliance Program;
  • Conduct annual external review of the Compliance Program.

How do money launderers use the legal and professional services  law firms and sole practitioners to launder their funds?

  • Creating corporate vehicles and complex legal entities such as trusts. These obscure the links between the proceeds of crime and the perpetrator.2
  • Buying and selling property can be used in the layering stage, or in the integration stage where the asset is purchased and retained.3
  • Performing financial transactions on behalf of a client (making deposits, issuing cheques, making and receiving wires, buying and selling stock).4
  • Providing financial and tax advice. Criminals may pose as wealthy individuals who need help sheltering wealth from tax.5

The issue of lawyers  providing advice to their client is controversial, as they have a confidential relationship with their clients.6

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 at paragraph 260 “Financial Institutions (FIs) have indicated that they have particular concerns with doing business with real estate entities and lawyers that buy and sell real estate due to concerns that there is inadequate AML/CFT understanding and application of the requirements such as CDD”.

The Evaluators at paragraph 282 of the MER requested that there be collaboration between the FIU and the Law Association to make the legal fraternity aware the AML/CFT legislative requirements as well as their obligations to implement these requirements.

The Evaluators noted at paragraph 317 of the MER that there appears to be a gap in the registration of lawyers. The majority of lawyers opined that they did not qualify for inclusion as a listed business since their services did not fall withAre Lawyers required to comply with Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago? clearly identify who should be registered.

Penalties

For the offence of Money Laundering, the penalty :

  • On summary conviction,  is  a fine of $10M & to imprisonment for 10 years
  • On Indictment, to a fine of $25M & to imprisonment for 15 years under POCA, S 53 (1)

For the offence of the Financing of Terrorism the penalty,

  • On conviction on indictment for  Individuals $5M & 25 years imprisonment;
  • On summary conviction Legal entities $5M & 5 years imprisonment  under Anti Terrorism Act s 22 A (3) (4) .

When must legal practitioners conduct Customer Due Diligence(CDD)?

When the services provided to the client falls under those services described in the First Schedule of the POCA. This CDD must be applied on a risk sensitive basis when lawyers  establish a “business relationship” with a client, when attorneys carry out an occasional transaction, when they suspect money laundering, when they suspect terrorist financing or when they doubt the veracity of identification documents.7

When must legal practitioners conduct Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)?

For ongoing matters that present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, where the client has not been physically present for identification purposes or where the client is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).8

Kevin Shepherd back in 2002 stated that “Some believe that the special relationship between lawyers and their clients gives lawyers an early inside view into crimes that could make their insights invaluable in the war on domestic and international criminal activity.”9

Lawyers as gatekeepers must start the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. “There is just no other current way of ensuring that the information an Financial Institution (FI) receives is not just a big cobweb of complexities created by a lawyer, helping the customer protect personal identification and corporate ownership information”.10

The time is coming when lawyers will be closely observed by the regulators as powerful and effective gatekeepers. Please get your affairs in order.

 

The author is an internationally certified Anti Money Laundering specialist and  attorney at law in Trinidad .
Please see the website : http://asydneygroup.com and the associated social media pages

References

1 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/criminal-activities/anti-money-laundering-solicitors-front-line-defence

2- 6 http://aml-expert.com/study-notes/Gatekeepers:_Accountants_Auditors_Lawyers_Notaries_Company_Formation_Agents

7-8 https://www.niceactimize.com/blog/Regulation-of-UK-lawyers-as-gatekeepers-for-AML-538

9-10 http://www.cypressresources.com/blog/aml-gatekeepers-engage

 

 

Knock, Knock, knocking on Opportunity’s door…the importance of actively pursuing your dreams

The race is not for the swift but for those who can endure. You cannot catch fish, if you do not lower the rod in the water. You can stay in the boat as long as you want, the fish will not jump into your plate. Now is the time to get up, get out and get something done in your life. Stop blaming others for the outcome of your decisions, this is your life. I am the proud guardian of 3 kittens. I have one special kitten, he has developed a system of getting my attention. The kitten has a great sense of time, he knows my bed time, he knows my departure time for work and he knows when I will return. If I leave the house and he did not anticipate that ,he sits on a pile of bricks to get a better vantage point to see my safe return. He sits outside my door on a blue mat that I bought for him. If he does not see me, he sits outside the window , where he can hear the sound of a television or music. He climbs on the rooftop to get my attention and purrs. He is always ready for the sound of the cracking of the door, when I am about to feed him. He always eats first because he is always ready for the opportunity to get my attention first. His brother and sister always eat his leftovers.

This kitten is brilliant. Instead of knocking on the door, he sleeps outside my door. He knows that I have to leave the house at some point. He makes himself comfortable on my step and he waits. How many times in life do we knock on a closed door? When we get no response, we walk away in frustration. This kitten has developed a clever system of getting what he wants. We must do the same, if we want a promotion at our job, we must actively learn what is required for the new position. Go and learn new courses, take up a new language, volunteer on the weekends to gain experience. Do not complain and take no action. If you want a boyfriend or girlfriend, become your own friend first. Discover yourself, question why you drink excessive alcohol, find out your triggers. Improve yourself, when the time is right and a partner approaches you, he or she will complement your life,not complete it.  Patience is required to wait for the opportunity to arrive, but while you wait ,you will be busy. Brother Buju Banton said that “opportunity is a scarce commodity” so you have to be prepared when it comes. The universe rewards effort. All the time and sweat that you spend perfecting your craft will return onto you seven fold. As you grow and mature, you will network and someone may open that door that you have been knocking on and invite you inside. You may be asked to provide the password to enter, this password may be a certain skill, or a different language or a certificate that you never bothered to pursue.

This is your life, so make  your bed outside the door that opens the way to the opportunity that you seek and improve yourself , while waiting for the door to open. If you become weary, sit by the window, climb on the rooftop, get the attention of the person who has to open the door for you.

Do not blow up too quickly: Enjoy the entrepreneurial ride

Do not expand to quickly, you may implode. I was contacted by a representative of a local telecommunications service  provider. He tried to convince me to advertise in  the local telephone directory. That way ,he said, I would attract new prospects. At the time I was discussing this proposition with a brilliant business professional. She asked me what I would do with all those incoming calls . She said that I may be overwhelmed and I agreed. The telephone directory also has an online version, the result is double exposure. I carefully considered the advice and I told the representative that I may contact him in the next 5 years.

I have been binge watching comedy series from the 80’s and 90’s. While watching an episode of “Sister,Sister” Lisa started a business, she made dresses and offered them for sale. Her first customer bought a dress and Lisa felt invincible. She started planning to attract new customers. She called the media houses and asked for quotations to place advertisements. She was advised by Ray that she should take it slowly and not expand too quickly. Lisa placed the advertisement and the same client came knocking on her door.Ray answered the door and gave the first customer a full cash refund and accepted the dress that she wanted to return. He hid the dress that was returned in order to protect Lisa’s feelings. Lisa was upset when she discovered the truth but she was determined to bring her dream to pass. She realised that she needed to conduct the business on a small scale then ,eventually she would expand.

I recalled a conversation with one of my clients , he indicated that equipment should not be purchased unless a contract was secured. He said that a business must be gradually expanded , creep then walk.

I want to appeal to you ,although you may be ambitious, life will knock your socks off. Be patient, trust the process. Do not take loans to acquire equipment if it seems that work is not forthcoming. The equipment has a minimum of 6 months warranty. In the event that you do not get any clients, you will not have cause to use the equipment and detect any flaws. The warranty may expire before you get a client. You will then have to pay to repair or replace the equipment. Should you decide to sell the equipment, you will lose money because of depreciation.

Remember success is 1% inspiration and 99% persistence , so please learn as much as you can, acquire contracts then expand,in that order.

About the Author:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU/Tax Compliance, and provides Corporate Secretarial Services to local and international giants in various industries. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies and add her on social media:

Website:

http://asydneygroup.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sydneygrouptt/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/asydneygrouptt/?hl=en

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-group-238922141

WhatsApp only 868 484-7778