ACAMS Hollywood: US Anti-Money Laundering Priorities Coming This Summer, Regulators To Brief Private Sector | Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence and Compliance Learning

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At the annual ACAMS Hollywood event, regulators discussed the impact of the government’s upcoming release of financial crime surveillance priorities later this summer on financial institutions.

On January 1, 2020, the United States Congress enacted one of the most significant changes to national anti-money laundering (AML) laws since the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. Known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, the reforms have been on the minds of financial institutions, law enforcement, regulators and – not surprisingly – financial criminals around the world. Yet there are many questions surrounding the law and its implementation.

Earlier this month, the AML community got answers. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s AML unit said it plans to release draft regulations outlining the government’s financial crime monitoring priorities – as required by the AML Act of 2020 – later in the year. ‘summer. But until a rule is made final and examiners and financial institutions are notified by regulators, compliance expectations will not change.

Comments from officials came during a recent panel, Regulators, without middleman: perspectives of regulatory leadership oversight, hosted by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) at its annual ACAMS Hollywood event, which this year was held remotely.

“The federal bank agencies have no intention of going out and looking at any of these priorities until there is a final rule and [bankers] have clear advice on what they are supposed to do. and the rule is working, ”said Koko Ives, director of the Bank Secrecy Act compliance section at the US Federal Reserve.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s AML unit said it plans to release draft regulations outlining the government’s financial crime monitoring priorities – as required by the AML Act of 2020 – later in the year. ‘summer.

The AML Act, which aims, among other things, to clarify and streamline certain compliance obligations and to strengthen the use of new technologies to fight financial crime, gave the US Treasury 180 days – until early July – to issue the AML and counterterrorism financing (CFT). priorities ”aimed at helping the private sector focus its control of transactions on areas of greatest interest to law enforcement. Financial institutions will be forced to incorporate these priorities into their compliance programs, possibly in part by modifying elements of their risk assessments.

Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) “plans to release AML / CFT priorities at some point in the summer,” noted Barry Emmert, director of the Treasury’s regulatory policy office. “The guidance will clearly address what financial institutions are expected to do with AML / CFT priorities as we work on the implementing regulations associated with this,” Emmert said.

FinCEN works closely with federal banking regulators “and I don’t think it’s any surprise that these priorities are consistent with the national strategy for illicit financing of the Treasury, as required by Congress,” Emmert added. .

Push to develop AML priorities

Lisa Arquette, associate director of the anti-money laundering and cyber-fraud branch at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), said the drive to develop anti-money laundering priorities “is a key priority for our agency, ”adding that it is just as important as“ We communicate with the banks we oversee and with our examiners. ”

If FinCEN rolls out its priorities by mid-year, the FDIC “will need to make some adjustments to our banking secrecy compliance program rule,” Arquette said. In the past, when major changes to AML regulators’ expectations were enacted, the FDIC conducted training sessions for both federal and state examiners and hosted a webinar for the banking industry to solicit questions, allowing banks “to get a consistent response from all bank branches and FinCEN,” Arquette explained.

“I imagine – without committing other agencies to do something like this – that the FDIC would have a keen interest in hosting an industry webinar shortly after our reviewers webinar to make sure we’re all on the line. same wavelength. She noted, adding that incorporating AML priorities into their programs will represent a significant change for the banking sector. “We just want to be sure to communicate with the industry and with our people.”

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is also keen to ensure that Treasury priorities “are communicated effectively and that there is a clear understanding of what is needed and when,” said Donna Murphy, deputy comptroller. of the BCC compliance risk policy. “It will be essential to make it clear to bankers and examiners how these will be implemented, and we are already talking about this among the branches.”

Murphy added that the BCC also plans to train examiners and wants to organize online events for the private sector. “Training is the key, the core and the pre-exam stage,” she said. “And that element of communication is key and involves not only training our examiners, but also communicating with industry.”

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