US treasury begins comprehensive review of AML regime

Tuesday, 11 January 2022
In December 2021, the US Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a request for comments on improving the US' anti-money laundering (AML) regime, as part of a formal review of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations and guidance mandated by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.
US treasury

It is especially interested in identifying “outdated, redundant” regulations and guidance that do not promote a risk-based compliance regime, with the aim of modernising the country’s AML regulations. It also seeks to ensure that it is providing “appropriate safeguards to protect the financial system from threats, including money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation, to national security posed by various forms of financial crime.”

The consultation requests comments on threats, vulnerabilities or risks that respondents feel the Department of the Treasury is unaware of and asks if “AML program requirements for financial institutions sufficiently address the threats, vulnerabilities, and risks faced by the U.S. financial system”.

Separately, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is tightening its regulation of banks’ crypto-asset activities, to ensure compliance with the BSA and AML requirements.

In November 2021, the OCC issued banks with a new interpretation of its crypto-asset regulation framework, stating that they cannot engage in cryptocurrency, distributed ledger and stablecoin activities until they have received permission to do so from their supervisory office. Banks will have to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant law and show that they have established appropriate risk management and measurement processes.

Comments on AML regime improvements can be made to FinCEN until February 14, 2022.


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