Gretchen E. Lamberg

10 April 2018

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Issues New Frequently Asked Questions on Customer Due Diligence Requirement

On April 3, 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding its customer due diligence rule (CDD Rule).

The CDD Rule applies to banks, broker-dealers in securities, mutual funds, futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities (collectively, covered financial institutions or CFIs).

The CDD Rule includes four core elements of customer due diligence, each of which should be included in the anti-money-laundering (AML) program of a CFI: (1) customer identification and verification, (2) beneficial ownership identification and verification, (3) understanding the nature and purpose of customer relationships to develop a customer risk profile and (4) ongoing monitoring for reporting of suspicious transactions and, on a risk basis, maintaining and updating customer information. The second element — the beneficial ownership requirement — is new. FinCEN has described the other elements as preexisting AML program requirements for CFIs, although the third and fourth prongs were, at most, implicit requirements.

FinCEN issued new FAQs on the CDD Rule on July 19, 2016. These FAQs are timely because the May 11, 2018 compliance date for the CDD rule is fast approaching.

Here, we summarize several key takeaways regarding the beneficial owner requirement from the new FAQs.


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