Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in Barbados

AML Country Guide / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in Barbados

Money laundering is a pressing concern in Barbados due to its role as a transit point for illegal activities. The government of Barbados has taken proactive measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, aiming to protect its financial system and uphold international standards.

Legal Framework

  1. Anti-Terrorism Act: In 2002, Barbados enacted the Anti-Terrorism Act, aligning with the United Nations (UN) International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing and UN Security Council Resolution 1373.
  2. Money Laundering (Prevention and Control) Act (MLPCA): The MLPCA, established in 1988, criminalizes money laundering, imposing a maximum penalty of $1 million USD and 25 years in prison.
  3. Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA): Formed in 2000, the AMLA serves as Barbados' Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), ensuring that all financial institutions adhere to MLPCA compliance.

Compliance Measures

  • Client Verification: Barbados' financial institutions are obligated to follow a stringent client verification policy and record all transactions exceeding $5,000 USD.
  • Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs): Any unusually large or suspicious transactions must be reported to the AMLA through SARs.
  • Know Your Customer (KYC) Standards: Barbados has established KYC standards to verify customer identities, contributing to the country's expanding AML system.

Role of the Central Bank of Barbados

The Central Bank of Barbados, located in Bridgetown, plays a pivotal role in maintaining financial stability, fostering a robust financial structure, channeling investment into productive activities, and promoting favorable credit and exchange conditions for Barbados' economic growth.

Evolution of Financial Regulation

Before the establishment of the Central Bank in 1972, the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) was Barbados' primary financial institution. Unlike the current Central Bank, ECCA lacked regulatory control over financial firms and the ability to enforce policies effectively.

AML Regulators and Regulations

To combat global threats related to money laundering, terrorism financing, and weapons proliferation, Barbados has established a network of regulators and regulations:


  • Barbados Central Bank ("CBB") Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA)
  • Financial Services Commission (FSC)
  • Ministry of International Business and Industry, International Business Unit (IBU)
  • Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO)
  • Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)


  • Financial Institutions Act, Section 324A (FIA)
  • Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act, 2011-23 (MLFTA)
  • Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Amendment Act, 2019-22 (MLFTAA)
  • Anti-Terrorism Act (Chapter 158) (ATA)
  • 2019 Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act (ATAA)

National Risk Assessment (NRA)

Barbados initiated its first risk assessment, identifying drug trafficking as the primary source of money laundering. To address any gaps in the previous NRA, Barbados is actively working on a comprehensive national risk assessment to uncover and mitigate potential money laundering threats and weaknesses.

International Financial Services Industry

Barbados boasts a thriving international financial services industry, further emphasizing the importance of robust anti-money laundering measures.

Sanction Scanner's AML Solution

Sanction Scanner offers a suite of AML solutions, including KYC, Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Transaction Screening, and Transaction Monitoring. These tools empower responsible entities in Barbados to seamlessly comply with local and global AML legislation. To learn more or request a demo, please contact us for further information.

This comprehensive guide highlights Barbados' commitment to combating money laundering and ensuring the integrity of its financial system while also providing information about available tools and resources to assist in compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

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