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Comments due on FinCEN proposal to impose AML/CFT program requirements on certain investment advisors


FinCEN has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published in the February 15, 2024, Federal Register that would require certain investment advisers to apply Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), including implementing risk-based AML/CFT programs, reporting suspicious activity to FinCEN, and fulfilling recordkeeping requirements.

The proposed rule would add investment advisers to the list of businesses classified as “financial institutions” under the BSA. Investment advisers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as those that report to the SEC as exempt reporting advisers, would be required to implement AML/CFT programs. They would also be required to file suspicious activity reports, fulfill certain recordkeeping requirements, and fulfill other obligations applicable to financial institutions subject to the BSA and FinCEN’s implementing regulations.

The proposed rule would also apply information-sharing provisions between and among FinCEN, law enforcement government agencies, and certain financial institutions, along with special measures that have been applied under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Finally, FinCEN is proposing to delegate examination authority for this rule to the SEC given the SEC’s expertise in the regulation of investment advisers and experience in examining other financial institutions with respect to AML/CFT responsibilities.

Treasury today also published its risk assessment of this sector, which identifies illicit finance threats and vulnerabilities in the sector, including how the uneven application of AML/CFT requirements across the sector allows both legitimate and illicit investors to “shop around” for an adviser who does not need to inquire into their source of wealth.

Comments on the proposal are due by April 15, 2025.

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