Enforcement Of Anti-Money Laundering Rule Will Start Slowly, Regulators Say
Hollywood, Fla.—Regulators said they won’t immediately crack down on financial institutions once a new anti-money laundering rule takes effect next month.
The rule requires financial institutions to identify the true owners of companies when they open bank accounts. It will get a light enforcement touch in the early days after the May 11 effective date, regulatory officials said Monday at an anti-money laundering compliance conference. The rule was in the works since 2012; it was finalized four years later.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, will oversee the rule and released guidance to that effect last week, but multiple government agencies will examine compliance, depending on the financial institution.
Those regulators won’t be tough, at least early on, they said at the ACAMS moneylaundering.com International AML and Financial Crime Conference.
One regulator said his agency won’t be knocking on doors on May 12. “There will be a time to look at where they are at,” as it’s it’s hard to imagine there will be any egregious issues in the first month or two, said Spencer Doak, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s director of policy on anti-money laundering compliance.
“We’re not going to be walking in on May 11 and start bringing enforcement” actions, said Lourdes Gonzalez, assistant chief counsel for sales practices in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s trading and markets division, echoing Mr. Doak’s point.
There’s no single prescriptive way to comply with the rule, said Suzanne Williams, deputy associate governor for corporate governance at the Federal Reserve’s supervision and regulation division. Overall effectiveness of the compliance program is more important, she said.
“It’s not dictated, but it should be commensurate of the risk posed by the customer,” she said.
Author: Samuel Rubenfeld
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