This guidance reiterates the anti-money laundering (AML) program obligations on
the principals of money services businesses (MSBs) to understand and appropriately
account for the risks associated with their agents, as broadly set forth by FinCEN
in 2004 guidance primarily focused on foreign agents and counterparties.
FinCEN is reiterating its guidance on this issue to complement recent guidance from states
addressing MSB principal-agent relationships, and consistent with the purposes of
the Money Remittances Improvement Act to encourage coordination between Federal
and state regulators on such issues.
MSBs serve important functions, including by facilitating remittances, and providing other financial services. This guidance is intended to provide clarity so that MSB principals and their agents can more easily understand how to comply with AML requirements while providing important
The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires all MSBs, both principals and their agents, to establish and maintain an effective written AML program reasonably designed to prevent the MSB from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.
To establish effective AML procedures and controls, an MSB principal’s program requirements properly include agent monitoring policies and procedures sufficient to allow the principal to understand and account for associated risks.
Although principals and agents may contractually allocate responsibility for developing policies, procedures and internal controls, both the principal and its agents remain liable under the rules for the existence of these respective policies, procedures, and controls. Moreover, each MSB remains independently and wholly responsible for implementing adequate AML program requirements.
- Incorporate policies, procedures, and internal controls reasonably designed to assure compliance with the BSA and its implementing regulations
- Designate a person to assure day to day compliance with the program and the BSA and its implementing regulations
- Provide education and training of appropriate personnel concerning their responsibilities under the program, including training in the detection of suspicious transactions to the extent that the money services business is required to report such transactions under the BSA
- Provide for independent review to monitor and maintain an adequate program