Inaugural List of AML/CFT Priorities
The Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/ CFT) policy (Priorities), as required by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act). The Priorities, “in no particular order,” include:
- Cybercrime, including relevant cybersecurity and virtual currency considerations
- Foreign and domestic terrorist financing
- Transnational criminal organization activity
- Drug trafficking organization activity
- Human trafficking and human smuggling
- Proliferation financing.
The Priorities list is intended to assist all covered institutions in their AML/CFT efforts and enable those institutions to prioritize the use of their compliance resources. FinCEN will update the list at least once every four years.
The AML Act requires FinCEN to promulgate regulations within 180 days of the establishment of the Priorities. Covered financial institutions are not required to incorporate the Priorities into their risk-based AML compliance programs until the effective date of the final regulations. The federal banking agencies issued an interagency statement indicating they plan to revise their Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations to address how the Priorities will be incorporated into banks’ BSA requirements.
Covered financial institutions are encouraged to begin considering how they will incorporate the Priorities into their risk-based AML/CFT/BSA compliance programs, such as by assessing the potential related risks associated with the products and services they offer, the customers they serve, and the geographic areas in which they operate.
Assessment Report on No-Action Letters
Also pursuant to the AML Act, FinCEN issued a report to Congress summarizing its assessment of whether to establish a process for the issuance of no-action letters in response to inquiries concerning the application of AML or CFT laws and regulations to specific conduct. In the report, “FinCEN concludes that it should plan towards a rulemaking to create a process for issuing no-action letters in addition to its current forms of regulatory guidance and relief, with the timing subject to resource limitations and competing priorities.”