United States (US)

AML/CTF in the United States (US)

„O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.“

In the United States, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) measures are paramount for maintaining the integrity and security of the financial system. The US has developed a comprehensive regulatory framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, underpinned by a series of legislative acts and regulatory bodies dedicated to enforcing these crucial laws.

Foundational Legislation and Key Amendments

The cornerstone of US AML and CTF efforts is the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act. This legislation established the groundwork for record-keeping and reporting by financial institutions, setting the stage for an extensive anti-money laundering regime. Since its inception, the BSA has been augmented by significant amendments designed to enhance the United States‘ capabilities to fight financial crimes. Notable among these are the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, each introducing critical measures to strengthen AML and CTF efforts.

Regulatory Authorities and Enforcement

The enforcement of AML and CTF regulations in the US is a collaborative effort involving multiple federal agencies, self-regulatory organizations (SROs), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and state regulatory bodies. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, plays a central role in collecting and analyzing information to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Alongside FinCEN, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are key federal banking regulators ensuring compliance within the banking sector.

Self-Regulatory Organizations like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversee securities firms and broker-dealers, ensuring they adhere to stringent AML and CTF standards. Moreover, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) play significant roles in regulating credit unions, commodity and futures firms, and consumer financial products, respectively.

Guidance and Compliance

To navigate the complex AML and CTF regulatory landscape, financial institutions rely on detailed guidance from authoritative sources. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) provides a BSA/AML Examination Manual, which was notably updated in 2014, indicating refreshed compliance requirements. Additionally, FinCEN’s BSA/AML Examination Manual for Money Services Businesses and the SEC’s AML source tools for broker-dealers and mutual funds offer industry-specific guidance.

State-Level Enforcement

Individual states, such as the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), complement federal efforts by enforcing state banking laws and AML regulations. This dual layer of regulation ensures a thorough and robust approach to preventing money laundering and terrorist financing across the nation.