Newly installed FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki outlined her group's agenda including a whistleblower rewards program, rules targeting real estate and investmetn advisors, drug trafficking and the rollout of beneficial ownership information reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act
In a presentation to the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists October 3. Ms. Gacki walked attendees through her objectives since being named to head FinCEN in July. She served as chief of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
[Remarks edited for brevity]
I have spent my first weeks at FinCEN getting to know the team better and getting up to speed on our work across the bureau. Even though I have worked closely with FinCEN for many years, I have still been surprised by the full scope of FinCEN’s remit. From alerting consumers to fraudulent schemes, to working with financial institutions to ferret out sanctions and export control evasion schemes, to providing law enforcement agencies with critical financial intelligence—it is a wide range of critical work streams. And FinCEN is a small agency, particularly given the breadth of its mandate.
FinCEN’s efforts, in significant part, are focused on the implementation of the beneficial ownership information reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act.
First, why is the collection of beneficial ownership information important? Illicit actors use opaque corporate structures to facilitate money laundering, corruption, sanctions and tax evasion, drug trafficking, fraud, and a host of other criminal offenses with impunity, while legitimate businesses and everyday Americans suffer from their misdeeds.
Simply put, implementing the Corporate Transparency Act will help untangle these opaque corporate structures, thereby allowing enforcement authorities to go after criminals and protect our national security.
Through outreach events and educational materials, we are working hard to create a framework where most small businesses should be able to file their beneficial ownership information on their own.
Recently, we published our Small Entity Compliance Guide, which walks small businesses through the requirements in plain language. It is our hope that this guide serves as a primary resource for mom-and-pop shops, providing clarity on their reporting obligations and explanations on how to actually file their beneficial ownership information.
Our dedicated beneficial ownership information webpage also contains guidance documents, answers to frequently asked questions, introductory videos, quick reference guides, and other resources to ensure that reporting companies and the small business community have the tools they need to comply with the new requirements.
And in just the past two weeks, we published:
Ensuring that all parties understand the new beneficial ownership rules is a top priority for Treasury. We are working together with the business community to ensure that this nationwide registry is a success.
While FinCEN is devoting significant resources to implementing the Corporate Transparency Act, our mandate is broad, and we also remain hard at work on other priorities, including other initiatives that support the Administration’s strategy to counter corruption.
The White House has identified combating corruption as one of its top priorities. FinCEN, along with our Treasury colleagues, has been examining the money laundering risks and vulnerabilities with certain “gatekeeper” industries such as real estate and investment advisers, and identifying how best to address those risks.
In December 2021, FinCEN issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public comment on a potential rule to address the vulnerability in the U.S. real estate market to money laundering and other illicit activity. We are currently developing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the contours of which are still being determined. FinCEN aims to issue this NPRM later this year.
AML/CFT risks presented by investment advisers is a priority for Treasury. As Treasury has noted on several occasions, investment advisers are not generally subject to comprehensive AML/CFT requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Along with our Treasury colleagues and other public and private stakeholders, we are assessing the AML/CFT risks this poses and identifying the best ways to mitigate those risks.
FinCEN also intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for FinCEN’s newly established AML and sanctions whistleblower program. Under the whistleblower program, FinCEN will be positioned to pay awards to eligible whistleblowers. While we work on the rulemaking necessary to fully implement this program, FinCEN is already receiving tips, investigating information received through those tips and making referrals to its enforcement colleagues at OFAC and the Department of Justice.