As we find ourselves past the halfway mark in one of the most unprecedented years in history (on a global scale), 2020 is proving to be a significant one for the advancement of AML enforcement and regulatory objectives here in the United States; befitting as the 50th anniversary of the Bank Secrecy Act (arguably the first major U.S. AML law) approaches in October.
A timeline of noteworthy milestones the have happened or are happening in 2020:
- February: U.S. Dept. of the Treasury released the 2020 National Strategy for Combatting Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing. Major aims are to (1) increase the transparency and closing of gaps in the legal framework, (2) improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory & supervisory frameworks and (3) enhancing operational capabilities and modernization
- April: The FFIEC published updates to its Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering examination manual. Major updates underscore the importance of transparency in the regulatory process and doubling down on the need to apply a risk-based approach.
- June: The FATF held their first ever summer plenary to discuss the implementation of Travel Rule as it relates to digital / virtual assets.
- December: While not directly related to the U.S., the EU's 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) is set to be introduced. 5AMLD just took effect earlier this year in January.
The linked article expands upon many of the major developments so far this year in the world of U.S. AML regulation & enforcement - a recommended read if you are just catching up on some of these topics (or if you've just been stuck under a rock - (or rather, a pandemic).
The 2020 Strategy follows a year when in 2019 global enforcers imposed more than $8 billion in anti-money laundering fines. This figure doubles the amount of penalties meted out in 2018, which approached $4.27 billion. U.S. enforcement agencies and regulators were the most active, handing out 25 penalties totaling $2.29 billion. Of the world’s top 50 banks, 12 were hit with fines in 2019. Four months into 2020, this trend has continued.