Switzerland consults on amendments to AML Ordinance

Monday, 04 October 2021
Switzerland's federal government has published draft amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (the Ordinance), implementing the measures in the recently revised Anti-Money Laundering Act (the Act).
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The Act, approved by parliament on 19 March 2021, implements most of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF’s) 2016 recommendations for Swiss anti-money laundering (AML) reform, including due-diligence and beneficial ownership reporting obligations for persons providing services in connection with companies or trusts, as well as for financial intermediaries. Banks will be required to file suspicious activity reports when they have any 'well-founded suspicion' of criminal funds.

In February 2020, FATF recognised Switzerland's progress by publishing improved ratings of its AML measures, but did not relax its requirement for the country to continue to report on further work under the enhanced follow-up regime.

The 2021 enactment of the Act has gone some way to satisfying FATF's requirements, although the Swiss parliament has placed limits on the new reporting requirements, with some exemptions for lawyers, notaries and fiduciaries. The draft Ordinance sets out the details of these rules and will also incorporate the relevant disclosure provisions currently in the AML ordinances of the supervisory authorities and the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

Controls on dealing in precious metals and jewels are also clarified in the new draft Ordinance. Purchasers of precious metal scrap will have to be licenced. Moreover, the Central Office for Precious Metal Control has been appointed as the new AML oversight authority.

There are also new rules governing the transparency of organisations with a high risk of terrorist financing. Charitable associations that distribute funds abroad will have to sign up to a register, appoint a representative in Switzerland and maintain a list of their members.

Consultation on the draft Ordinance will last until 17 January 2022. The next FATF follow-up audit of Switzerland is due later in 2022.


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