FinCEN Seeks Comments on Enhancing the Effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering Programs

On September 16, FinCEN issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit comments on questions pertaining to potential regulatory amendments under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which would require financial institutions to maintain “effective and reasonably designed” anti-money laundering programs. The amendments are intended to modernize the regulatory regime and provide financial institutions with greater flexibility in the allocation of resources to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of AML programs. These regulatory amendments would seek to clearly define that an “effective and reasonably designed” AML program should (i) identify, assess and reasonably mitigate the risks resulting from illicit financial activity, (ii) assure and monitor compliance with recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the BSA, and (iii) provide information with a high degree of usefulness to government authorities. FinCEN is seeking comments on whether the regulatory amendments as proposed make clear that the program is intended to create an “effective and reasonably designed” AML program and whether the core elements as proposed are appropriate for such goal. Comments must be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.