Assessment Gives “Thumbs Up” to No-Action Letters but Notes Logistical Challenges
As required by the Anti-Money Laundering Act (“AML Act”), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued on June 30, 2021 its 14-page assessment regarding the feasibility of FinCEN issuing so-called “no-action” letters to financial institutions (the “Assessment”). FinCEN issued this Assessment on the same day that it issued the first government-wide list of national priorities for anti-money laundering (“AML”) and countering the financing of terrorism (“CFT”), as we have blogged. In arguable contrast to the AML priorities, FinCEN’s Assessment is full of specific, concrete details and offers interesting insights into how no-action letters may (or may not) work in practice.
Ultimately, the Assessment posits that no-action letters are a desirable step, but that practical challenges remain – including sufficient funding for FinCEN. According to the Assessment, no-action letters will be the subject of future regulations promulgated by FinCEN. Although the details of a no-action letter process will be a debated topic, the Assessment gives reassurance that FinCEN takes the issue seriously and that no-action letters likely will occur in some form.
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