FINMA Releases Revised Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance

The latest revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance has instituted measures from both FINMA's past experience and market developments

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has announced a comprehensive revised Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance, which is slated to take effect on January 1, 2016, according to a FINMA statement.

The latest revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance has instituted measures from both the revised Anti-Money Laundering Act and internationally adjusted standards, expanding upon insights gained via supervisory practice from a number of recent developments seen in the markets.

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In particular, the framework draws upon the findings from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, which were revised in 2012 – these represent internationally recognized standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

With the upcoming passage of the ordinance on January 1, 2016, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) was revised by the Swiss Parliament to implement the revised FATF recommendations. The FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO-FINMA) has also been adjusted, having now taken into account the revised FATF recommendations.

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Moreover, the full revision of the FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO-FINMA) has also included a number of adjustments – these include financial intermediaries to determine individuals behind operationally active legal entities and partnerships.

In light of the input received from the aforementioned entities, a number of provisions for the new payment methods were amended, which now largely take into account the increasing digitalization of payment transactions. As such, cashless payments of goods and services amounting to $5,340 (CHF5,000) a month and/or $26,700 (CHF25,000) a year to traders in Switzerland can be made without formal client identification.

Interestingly, FINMA did not make any additional concessions with regards to virtual currencies, including the heightened propensity for money laundering risks.

FINMA is the supervisory authority tasked with the supervision of the Swiss financial market. Its mandate includes the monitoring of activities that are based on the Financial Market Supervision Act. Through its regulatory edicts and oversight, FINMA helps foster the protection of creditors, investors and insured persons, as well as ensuring the general functioning of the financial markets.

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