BSA FAQs 17 - Can you provide guidance on how money services businesses should conduct independent reviews of their anti-money laundering programs?

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Q:  Can you provide guidance on how money services businesses should conduct independent reviews of their anti-money laundering programs?
 
A:  There are frequently asked questions regarding how to conduct independent reviews on money services business anti-money laundering programs. FinCEN has issued the following guidance 1.

The Bank Secrecy Act requires money services businesses to establish anti-money laundering programs that include “an independent audit function to test programs.” In implementing this requirement, we determined to make clear that money services businesses are not required to hire a certified public accountant or an outside consultant to conduct a review of their programs. Rather, the relevant Bank Secrecy Act regulation requires money services businesses to establish anti-money laundering programs with written policies and procedures that:

Provide for independent review to monitor and maintain an adequate program. The scope and frequency of the review shall be commensurate with the risk of the financial services provided by the money services business. Such review may be conducted by an officer or employee of the money services business so long as the reviewer is not the person designated in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.

The primary purpose of the independent review is to monitor the adequacy of the money services business’ anti-money laundering program. The review should determine whether the business is operating in compliance with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act and the business’ own policies and procedures. Each money services business should identify and assess the money laundering risks that may be associated with its unique products, services, customers, and geographic locations. Regardless of where risks arise, money services businesses must take reasonable steps to manage them. Each money services business should focus resources on the areas of its business that management believes pose the greatest risks, and the level of sophistication of the associated internal controls should be appropriate for the size, structure, risks, and complexity of the money services business.

 
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
This FAQ was obtained from FinCEN’s website, in the section for Answers to Frequently Asked BSA Questions, which may be found here: 
 

 

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