FinCEN seeks feedback ahead of new beneficial ownership rules; US moves closer to key measure against money laundering - AML Intelligence
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FinCEN seeks feedback ahead of new beneficial ownership rules; US moves closer to key measure against money laundering

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

THE FINANCIAL CRIME watchdog in the United States has today taken another step towards implementing its long-awaited beneficial ownership registry – part of a national AML overhaul.  

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an ‘advanced notice of proposed rulemaking’, which is essentially a request for feedback ahead of new rules being officially brought in.  

The request follows the passing of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 – a collection of laws intended to strengthen US defences against the flow of dirty money.  

It requires a national registry of beneficial owners to be established in the United States. This was something that had long been called for my AML professionals and international organisations as a key tool in tracking financial criminals.  

But it met with opposition from representatives from the legal and commerce worlds on privacy grounds. Enough of that opposition has now ebbed away to ensure the registry will soon be up and running.  

Before this, however, FinCEN needs feedback.  

“FinCEN strongly encourages all interested parties, particularly those that would be affected by the beneficial ownership information reporting provisions or would seek access to reported beneficial ownership information, to submit written comments,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.  

“Such written comments will help inform FinCEN’s implementation of all aspects of the beneficial ownership reporting rulemaking.” 

Entities affected by the new beneficial ownership rules include corporations and limited liability companies.  

All of these institutions will soon be subject to rules similar to those already seen in other western jurisdictions like the EU and UK, with requirements to give basic details about those who ultimately own or control a company.  

FinCEN said that this new information would serve to “enhance the national security of the United States” – ensuring it was more difficult for criminals to launder money, finance terrorism, or engage in trafficking, proliferation and tax fraud.  

Stakeholders have until 5th May – just over one month – to submit feedback to FinCEN. FinCEN itself has until 31st December this year to issue new regulations around beneficial ownership.  

Once it does this, all new companies will have to make the necessary reporting from the date of formation, and old companies have two years to do the same.  

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