The Treasury Departments Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has issued a rule proposal that would require investment advisers to establish anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious activity, as required by the Bank Secrecy Act.
The BSA does not expressly include “investment adviser” among its list of entities defined as a financial institution. FinCEN, with the proposed rule announced on Tuesday, would add investment advisers to that definition, subjecting them to similar regulations that already apply to mutual funds, broker-dealers, banks, and insurance companies. Among those requirements are filing Currency Transaction Reports and maintaining records relating to the transmittal of funds.
The proposal applies to investment advisers that are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including advisers to hedge funds, private equity funds, and other private funds. FinCEN would delegate its authority to examine investment advisers for compliance with these requirements to the SEC.
The proposed rulemaking would address money laundering vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system, FinCEN said in a statement. “Presently, illicit actors seeking to access the financial system may attempt to gain such access through an investment adviser as a means to avoid detection of their activity which might otherwise occur in dealings with financial institutions that have AML programs and suspicious activity reporting requirements,” it wrote, adding that “as long as investment advisers are not subject to AML program and suspicious activity reporting requirements, money launderers may see them as a low-risk way to enter the U.S. financial system.”
A 60-day public comment period will begin once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.