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Benjamin W. Hutten quoted in ACAMS article, “FinCEN’s ‘no-action letters’ face hurdles"


Benjamin W. Hutten

Benjamin W. Hutten was quoted in the ACAMS article, “FinCEN’s ‘no-action letters’ face hurdles,” which discussed how limited resources and bureaucracy could delay the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s development of a new regulatory-relief program. Institutions can seek the agency’s interpretation of Bank Secrecy Act requirements via a helpline, but, as Hutten noted, “The bureau’s responses to helpline inquiries do not shield the requesting institution from a subsequent enforcement action, but, if worse comes to worst, may help explain why certain actions were taken.” Hutten added that unlike no-action letters, helpline responses and administrative rulings do not shield an institution from enforcement. He said, “So, for example, FinCEN may conclude that a person qualifies as a money services business because of the way they make certain payments. A no-action letter could say that, for example, the BSA requires you to do ‘x, y and z,’ but in this particular situation, FinCEN will take no enforcement action if ‘x, y and z’ aren’t completed.”

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