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On April 27, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to financial institutions concerning the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) updated list of jurisdictions identified as having “strategic deficiencies” in their anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. FinCEN urges financial institutions to consider this list when reviewing due diligence obligations and risk-based policies, procedures, and practices.
As further described in the Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: On-going Process, FATF identified the following jurisdictions as having developed action plans to address AML/CFT deficiencies: Ethiopia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, and Yemen. Notably Serbia has been added to the list for failing to effectively implement its AML/CFT framework, whereas Bosnia and Herzegovina has been removed from the list due to “significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime . . . [and] establishing the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in its action plan.” The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran remain the two jurisdictions subject to countermeasures and enhanced due diligence due to AML/CFT deficiencies.
On December 19, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced the release of a progress report and 2017 workplan to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking. According to the FSB, a decline in the number of correspondent banking relationships is a source of concern for the international financial system because, among other reasons, “it may affect the ability to send and receive international payments, or drive some payment flows underground.” The FSB’s report discusses the FSB’s November 2015 four-point action plan to “assess and address” this concern and highlights actions taken by the FSB over the last five months, including:
- FSB efforts to collect both bank-level and aggregate country-level data on the number of correspondent banking relationships and aggregated transaction amounts by country and currency for approximately 300 banks in some 50 jurisdictions in order to understand in more detail the scale of withdrawal from correspondent banking, its causes and effects.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) publication of guidance on correspondent banking, which clarifies that the FATF Recommendations do not require financial institutions to conduct customer due diligence on the customers of their respondent bank clients.
- The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s (BCBS’s) publication of a revised version of its guidance on correspondent banking.
- The hosting of a roundtable discussion amongst the FSB, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and officials from central banks, private banks and finance ministries around the world to discuss steps that need to be taken to address this issue.
The report also includes a discussion of deliverables for 2017, along with general time estimates as to when it expects to complete various tasks. Among other things, the FSB expects to publish the findings from its survey on correspondent banking in April of 2017, the BCBS expects to publish its revised guidance on correspondent banking in June, and FATF expects to release best practices on private sector information sharing and finalize its work on customer due diligence and financial inclusion in July.