Customer due diligence topic of new FAQ by financial crimes enforcement office

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) document Tuesday addressing financial institutions’ compliance concerns related to customer due diligence (CDD) requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

The new FAQ answers 37 questions related to the scope of CDD rule requirements published in May 2016 and amended last September. Some of the issues addressed include, among others:

  • whether a financial institution can implement internal policies regarding the collection of beneficial ownership information that are more stringent than FinCEN requirements (it may, the FAQ notes);
  • interaction of the beneficial ownership threshold with other anti-money laundering (AML) program obligations;
  • dealing with legal entity customers with complex ownership structures;
  • methods of verifying beneficial ownership information;
  • retention of information;
  • certification when a single legal entity customer opens multiple accounts;
  • monitoring and updating customer information;
  • updating beneficial ownership information;
  • exclusions from the definition of “legal entity” customer.

FinCEN says a covered financial institution that learns of or has a reasonable suspicion that a customer is evading or attempting to evade “beneficial ownership” or other CDD requirements “should consider whether it should not open an account, close an account, or file a suspicious activity report, regardless of any interpretations” offered in the FAQ (FIN-2018-G001).

FinCEN FAQ: Customer Due Diligence for Financial Institutions (April 3)