WASHINGTON (8/13/14)--Recent anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement actions have led the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) this week to issue an advisory identifying common compliance shortcomings.
The advisory is meant to highlight principles that can strengthen a financial institution's Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance program.
The advisory lays out the following guidance for financial institutions:
- Leadership, including board of directors, senior and executive management, owners and operators, should be engaged with the financial institution's BSA/AML compliance program. Leaders should receive training tailored to their roles and should remain informed of BSA/AML compliance practices within the institution;
- Compliance, including submission of appropriate and accurate reports, should not be compromised by revenue interests. BSA/AML compliance should function independently within a financial institution, in order to be prepared to take action to address and mitigate risks from the business side of the institution;
- BSA/AML compliance staff should have access to all relevant information. According to FinCEN, several recent enforcement actions noted that compliance staff was not given information, possibly due to the lack of an information-sharing mechanism. Fraud prevention and legal departments should be sharing information with compliance staff;
- Adequate human and technological resources should always be accessible. An individual should be designated as the person responsible for coordinating and monitoring day-to-day compliance, and appropriate support staff should be assigned to a BSA/AML compliance program based on an organization's risk profile;
- Compliance programs should be commensurate with an institution's risk level, and should always include a proper ongoing risk assessment, sound risk-based customer due diligence and appropriate detection and reporting of suspicious activity. This should also include independent program testing from an independent, qualified, unbiased and non-conflicting entity; and
- Staff at all levels should understand the purpose of BSA reports. FinCEN considers the information provided among the most important information available for law enforcement and other security entities. Information provided can help initiate investigations, expand existing investigations, promote international information exchange and identify significant relationships, trends and patterns.
Use the resource link below to access to the full advisory from FinCEN.