The Treasury building in Washington. The Treasury building in Washington. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is seeking comment on a wide range of potential regulatory amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act’s anti-money laundering requirements.

In its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, FinCEN says the amendments under consideration in BSA’s anti-money laundering program are intended to “modernize the regulatory regime to address the evolving threats of illicit finance, and provide financial institutions with greater flexibility in the allocation of resources, resulting in the enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of anti-money laundering programs.”

Covered financial institutions include banks, credit unions, brokers or dealers in securities, mutual funds, insurance companies, futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities.

The BSA, for instance, requires broker-dealers to file suspicious activity reports, or SARs.

Specifically, FinCEN states that it is considering regulatory amendments that would explicitly define an “effective and reasonably designed” AML program as one that:

  • Identifies, assesses, and reasonably mitigates the risks resulting from illicit financial activity — including terrorist financing, money laundering, and other related financial crimes — consistent with both the institution’s risk profile and the risks communicated by relevant government authorities as national AML priorities;
  • Assures and monitors compliance with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the BSA; and
  • Provides information with a high degree of usefulness to government authorities consistent with both the institution’s risk assessment and the risks communicated by relevant government authorities as national AML priorities.

The FinCEN notice, released Wednesday, also seeks comment on whether the AML program regulations should be amended to establish an explicit requirement for a risk-assessment process, as well as whether the director of FinCEN should issue every two years a list of national AML priorities, to be called FinCEN’s “Strategic Anti-Money Laundering Priorities.”