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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FinCEN Finalizes Long-Awaited Customer Due Diligence Rule

FinCEN Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Consumer Finance

On May 6, FinCEN issued a final rule imposing standardized customer due diligence requirements for banks, broker-dealers, mutual funds, futures commission’s merchants and introducing brokers in commodities. Subject to exceptions for certain types of entities deemed low risk by FinCEN, beginning on May 11, 2018, covered institutions must identify any natural person that owns, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of a legal entity customer or that exercises control over the entity. Covered financial institutions would also have to take measures to verify that they know the true identity of each person identified as a beneficial owner (but would not be required to verify that such persons are in fact beneficial owners). The requirement will apply to new accounts opened by legal entity customers, and will not be retroactive. Additionally, the final rule adds a standardized set of four customer due diligence requirements as a “fifth pillar” of an effective anti-money laundering program. In addition to identification and verification of beneficial owners of legal entities, the requirements include: (i) identification and verification of customers; (ii) understanding the nature and purpose of the customer relationship; and (iii) ongoing monitoring for reporting suspicious transactions and, on a risk basis, updating customer information.

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