On July 22, 2019, the federal bank regulatory agencies and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (collectively, the “Agencies”), issued a Joint Statement on Risk-Focused Bank
Continue Reading Joint Statement Emphasizes Risk-Focused Approach to Examinations of Banks’ BSA/AML Compliance Programs

Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) extend the powers available to UK law enforcement authorities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), enabling investigators to ask people who are holding assets,
Continue Reading Prove It or Lose It! Parts I and II: Unexplained Wealth Orders and Civil Recovery Orders in the United Kingdom

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) recently released new guidance on the process it uses when considering enforcement actions against banking institutions and individuals for potential non-compliance with Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) compliance program requirements and anti-money laundering (“AML”) rules.  At the same time, the OCC also issued a revised policy for assessing civil monetary penalties against both institutions and individuals for compliance violations. The revised policy makes clear that the OCC intends to use the threat of monetary penalties to hold individuals – compliance officers, managers, executives, directors, or any employee of a banking institution – accountable for compliance violations. Compliance with BSA/AML programs is not simply an institutional or bank-only issue; responsibility for ensuring compliance with these programs rests with Boards of Directors, management and individual compliance personnel. Additionally, compliance is not merely a regulatory concern; the recent OCC guidance also makes clear that the OCC will notify criminal law enforcement authorities (including FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) of “all formal and informal enforcement actions” pursued by the regulators.

The OCC has a statutory mandate to issue a cease-and-desist order when problems or weaknesses in a bank’s compliance systems and controls rise to the level of noncompliance with BSA requirements or result in repeat or uncorrected compliance issues. In addition to a mandatory cease-and-desist order, the OCC may also pursue civil monetary penalties (“CMP”).  The OCC’s process generally allows notice and an opportunity to respond within 15 days of written notice of noncompliance to either an institution or individual. The OCC’s new guidance sets forth the process by which a bank or an individual may respond to a notice of noncompliance.


Continue Reading OCC Issues New Guidance and Policies on Enforcement Actions and Civil Monetary Penalties Against Institutions and Individuals

In January 2016, the Treasury Department announced “geographic targeting orders” (GTOs) that will require title insurance companies and their agents to obtain representative and ultimate beneficial ownership information when a
Continue Reading Manhattan and Miami Residential Real Estate Sales – What Are the New Treasury Department Anti-Money Laundering Requirements All About?

On July 23, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of a proposed regulation submitted to OMB by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that, when finalized into a final regulation, would require investment advisers to adopt and implement anti-money laundering (AML) program and file suspicious activity reports (SARs). The clearance by the OMB means a proposed AML program/SAR regulation for investment advisers could be published by FinCEN as early as within the next several weeks. It remains unclear whether such publication would resuscitate the prior FinCEN proposals of over a decade ago which would have required unregistered investment companies and commodities trading advisers to adopt an AML program. 
Continue Reading Proposed AML Program and SAR Reporting Requirements Nearing for Investment Advisers

In recent months, certain small banks have come under increased investigation by FinCEN, federal bank regulators, and in some instances the Department of Justice (DOJ) for alleged non-compliance with the
Continue Reading Recent DOJ and Regulatory Actions Against Smaller Institutions Suggest That Community Banks Should Continue to Carefully Consider BSA/AML Risks