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On April 1, FinCEN issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments on a range of issues related to the implementation of the beneficial ownership information requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). As previously covered by InfoBytes, the CTA is included within the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2021, which was enacted in January as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Among other things, the ANPRM requests comments on reporting procedures and standards for entities to submit information to FinCEN about their beneficial owners, as well as input on FinCEN’s implementation of related CTA provisions “that govern FinCEN’s maintenance and disclosure of beneficial ownership information subject to appropriate protocols.” According to FinCEN, the CTA amended the Bank Secrecy Act “to require corporations, limited liability companies, and similar entities to report certain information about their beneficial owners (the individual natural persons who ultimately own or control the companies).” The CTA also requires FinCEN to develop a secure, non-public database to house collected beneficial ownership information, and authorizes FinCEN to disclose beneficial ownership information to several categories of recipients, including federal law enforcement. Moreover, FinCEN is required to revise existing financial institution customer due diligence regulations concerning beneficial ownership to incorporate the new direct reporting of beneficial ownership information.
Comments on the ANPRM should be submitted by May 5.
On March 22, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco spoke at the Florida International Bankers Association AML Compliance Conference, and discussed the upcoming advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning new beneficial ownership reporting requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2021 (AML Act). As previously covered by InfoBytes, the AML Act was enacted in January as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, and made significant changes to BSA and AML laws. Included within the AML Act is the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which defines a beneficial owner as an entity or individual “who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship, or otherwise. . .exercises substantial control over the entity” or “owns or controls not less than 25 percent of the ownership interests of the entity,” with limited exceptions. Blanco did not provide a timeline for when the ANPRM would be issued, but emphasized that implementing the AML Act is FinCEN’s “number one priority.” Blanco also noted, among other things, that FinCEN is taking steps to develop a secure database to house collected beneficial ownership information, and is currently in the process of developing the use and confidentiality protocols that will control access to the database.
On March 9, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory notice alerting financial institutions with existing Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) obligations about illicit activity associated with trade in antiquities and art. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act) was enacted in January as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, and made significant changes to BSA and AML laws, including amending the definition of “financial institution” under the BSA to include persons “engaged in the trade of antiquities.” Among other things, FinCEN’s advisory notice updates financial institutions on AML Act measures related to the regulation of antiquities, noting in particular that the Department of Treasury, in coordination with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney General, and Homeland Security, “will perform a study of the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the trade in works of art.” The notice further warns financial institutions that crimes related to the trade of antiquities “may involve their institution” and could include the “sale of stolen or counterfeit objects,” as well as money laundering and sanctions violations. The advisory notice also provides suspicious activity report filing instructions related to trade in antiquities and art.
On January 1, the U.S. Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, following a similar vote in the House a few days prior. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the NDAA includes significant changes to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, such as:
- Establishing federal disclosure requirements of beneficial ownership information, including a requirement that reporting companies submit, at the time of formation and within a year of any change, their beneficial owner(s) to a “secure, nonpublic database at FinCEN”;
- Expanding the declaration of purpose of the BSA and establishing national examinations and supervision priorities;
- Requiring streamlined, real-time reporting of Suspicious Activity Reports;
- Establishing a Subcommittee on Innovation and Technology within the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group to encourage and support technological innovation in the area of AML and countering the financing of terrorism and proliferation (CFT);
- Expanding the definition of financial institution under the BSA to include dealers in antiquities;
- Requiring federal agencies to study the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the trade of works of art; and
- Including digital currency in AML-CFT enforcement by, among other things, expanding the definition of financial institution under the BSA to include businesses engaged in the transmission of “currency, funds or value that substitutes for currency or funds.”
- Jonice Gray Tucker to join CFPB panel at CBA’s Washington Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to moderate “Pandemic relief response and lasting impacts on access, credit, banking, and equality” at the American Bar Association Business Law Section Spring Meeting
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "Post-pandemic CFPB exam preparation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Making fair lending work for you" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Reading the tea leaves of President Biden’s initial financial appointees" at LendIt Fintech
- Moorari K. Shah to discuss “CA, NY, federal licensing and disclosure” at the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association Legal Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Compliance under Biden" at the WSJ Risk & Compliance Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “The future of fair lending” at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference