On June 30, 2021, the US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published its first government-wide priorities for AML (the “Priorities”), a mandate established by the AML Act of 2020 passed by US Congress earlier this year.
The Priorities are intended to assist financial institutions in their efforts to meet their obligations under regulations designed to combat money laundering and counter terrorist financing. The Priorities mostly put the industry on notice, noting that FinCEN will issue regulations at a later date to specify how institutions incorporate relevant Priorities into their AML programs, acknowledging an expectation of a risk-based approach and that not all Priorities are relevant to all financial institutions.
The Priorities, which FinCEN indicates are in no particular order are:
FinCEN’s accompanying statements on the Priorities make clear of the participation of other regulators like the SEC and CFTC, and the applicability of the Priorities to non-bank financial institutions, such as broker dealers, mutual funds, and futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities.
As noted by the Priorities, financial institutions may wish to start considering how they will incorporate the Priorities into their risk-based AML programs, like assessing the potential risks associated with the products and services they offer, the customers they serve, and the geographic areas in which they operate.
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