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FINMA Unveils New Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

21 December 2010


Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has announced that its new anti-money laundering ordinance is due to enter into force on January, 1 2011.

In its release, FINMA explained that the ordinance, which harmonizes and combines its three former anti-money laundering ordinances into one single ordinance, is directed at all financial intermediaries falling under the Anti-Money Laundering Act and determines how the regulations to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing are to be implemented. Transitional periods are foreseen for the implementation of the new provisions, it noted.

FINMA stated that: “The duties of the financial intermediaries to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing are set down in the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Until the end of this year, its current legal framework is specified in FINMA's three ordinances drawn up by its predecessor institutions: the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, the Federal Office of Private Insurance and the Anti-Money Laundering Control Authority.”

”These three ordinances have now been harmonised and combined in the FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance. The standardised ordinance is primarily a technical combination: a number of rules from the former ordinances were adopted unchanged in the new ordinance. In addition, the ordinance text has been simplified, where possible, and changes have been made to eliminate unjustified unequal treatment between the supervisory areas.”

According to FINMA: “There are only few notable changes, namely the waiver of the duty to perform due diligence for low-value assets, the provisions relating to delegation and the appointment of third parties, and the provision on correspondent banking relationships.”

The consultation period to draft the ordinance opened in summer 2010. While receiving a positive welcome, proposals were nevertheless made on certain points, for example the structure, various threshold values, global monitoring of legal and reputational risks, and communication of practice. This resulted in certain changes being made to the ordinance text.

TAGS: investment | law | banking | fees | Switzerland | regulation

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