The brand new Cash Laundering Act (AMLA) seeks to implement a few of the primary suggestions of the Fourth Mutual Analysis Report of the Monetary Motion Job Pressure (FATF) regarding Switzerland. Its aim is to extend authorized certainty and strengthen the place of the Swiss monetary centre.
From 1 January 2023, the brand new AMLA requires monetary intermediaries to adjust to strict due diligence obligations. The legislation now explicitly supplies for the verification of the id of the useful proprietor and a common obligation to replace buyer information. The goal can also be to enhance the transparency of associations uncovered to a higher danger of terrorist financing.
This text will focus solely on modifications associated to useful proprietor verification, buyer information obligations, in addition to transparency obligations for associations.
I. Verification of useful house owners
In its new type, the artwork. 4 para. 1 1st par. AMLA requires the monetary middleman to establish the useful proprietor with the due diligence required by the circumstances and confirm his id to make sure that he is aware of who the useful proprietor is. The due diligence required underneath the circumstances, when it comes to a risk-based method, applies to each the identification and verification of the id of the useful proprietor. Additionally it is potential to use the risk-based method to how id is verified.
A monetary middleman can not rely solely on a written and signed declaration of the counterparty relating to the useful proprietor. The middleman has an obligation to satisfy this obligation critically, monetary intermediaries should take a risk-based method and leverage their data of the shopper profile, along with any publicly out there info. If needed, the middleman should additionally request info from an exterior service. For instance, if a shopper is a authorized entity with a fancy possession construction or a number of ranges of management, monetary intermediaries may have to make use of exterior providers to collect info on the useful proprietor(s).
The affirmation obligation have to be carried out in mild of the particular circumstances of the enterprise relationship, together with its nature, complexity and the quantity of funds concerned.
When assessing the data supplied on the useful proprietor, a monetary skilled ought to train due diligence, which can embody consulting the pc databases at its disposal, whether or not freely accessible by way of a search engine or by subscription. Nonetheless, it is not essential to conduct an intensive investigation for each enterprise relationship, neither is it obligatory to make use of a third-party investigator in each case.
The idea of a risk-based method to anti-money laundering measures requires monetary intermediaries to rigorously assess the probability of participating in unlawful actions and to tailor their investigative efforts accordingly. This includes balancing the necessity for an intensive examination of enterprise dealings and transactions with the sensible consideration of doing so in a proportionate and environment friendly method. For instance, if a financial institution encounters a transaction or contract that it doesn’t absolutely perceive, it’s important that it both request additional info and documentation or refuse to take part within the transaction. This ensures that the financial institution doesn’t unknowingly grow to be concerned in unlawful actions, equivalent to cash laundering or terrorist financing.
Monetary intermediaries should establish high-risk enterprise relationships considering elements equivalent to location, nature of enterprise, transaction patterns and ties to politically uncovered individuals, then designate and handle these relationships internally.
Swiss anti-money laundering laws offers monetary intermediaries the flexibleness to find out essentially the most applicable technique of verifying the id of an useful proprietor, with out requiring the gathering of a duplicate of the person’s id card. Nonetheless, it’s important that monetary intermediaries train their discretion with prudence and a focus, following a risk-based method and assessing the plausibility of the data supplied by the policyholder.
Within the case of a number of useful house owners, monetary intermediaries aren’t required to find out the share of possession held by every useful proprietor. Nonetheless, this precept could not at all times apply to figuring out the controlling individuals of an working firm. Banks should now confirm the id of the useful proprietor by way of a written assertion signed by the shopper, relatively than simply in case of doubt.
The duty to confirm the id of the financial beneficiary will not be a brand new obligation, however relatively a codification of an present apply based mostly on jurisprudence. The extent of the verification course of will rely upon the extent of danger related to the policyholder, though it mustn’t result in important materials prices or a discount in the associated fee/revenue ratio, particularly for actions carried out inside Switzerland.
II. Buyer Information Obligations
Paragraph 1bis was launched in Article 7 AMLA, which stipulates that the monetary middleman periodically checks that the required information are updated and updates them if needed. The periodicity, extent and kind of checks and updates are based mostly on the chance posed by the shopper. The brand new provision supplies for periodic verification of the paperwork acquired in the course of the due diligence and any updating, in keeping with a risk-based method. The duty to replace buyer info applies to all enterprise relationships, whatever the degree of danger and extends each to the id of the contracting associate or useful proprietor in addition to to different particulars within the buyer profile, equivalent to objective and goal of the report. Whereas the risk-based method could require extra frequent critiques for high-risk relationships, the requirement to replace buyer info applies to all relationships, together with pre-existing ones. Within the hypothetical state of affairs the place a monetary service took on a shopper in 1999 and new anti-money laundering guidelines have been subsequently launched, the monetary middleman would want to assessment the shopper’s apply and convey it updated with the up to date guidelines, which might contain finishing up a brand new danger evaluation based mostly on present danger elements and buyer profile. The generic time period ‘information’ on this new provision covers numerous paperwork, info or information collected to ascertain the shopper profile, equivalent to info recorded by the monetary middleman within the shopper file.
Monetary intermediaries already replace their buyer info frequently, and banks usually use these alternatives to tell prospects about services or products. Nonetheless, small shoppers with whom private contact is much less frequent could not have such alternatives. These modifications tackle this situation whereas guaranteeing monetary intermediaries have the flexibleness to find out the frequency and extent of updates based mostly on danger.
To make sure compliance, a monetary middleman ought to undertake a risk-based method, preserve organized information, carry out periodic critiques and updates, retain information for ten years, and reply promptly to authorities.
III. Transparency for the Associations
The FATF report highlighted transparency gaps in non-profit organizations, which current potential terrorist financing dangers. To handle these considerations, important modifications have been launched to the Legislation on Associations.
In precept, an affiliation will not be required to register within the industrial register, except it carries out industrial actions to realize its goals or is required to audit its accounts.
Part 61 para. 2 no. 3 of the civil code supplies that: [associations] have to be registered if it primarily collects or distributes overseas, immediately or not directly, items meant for charitable, spiritual, cultural, academic or social functions. Nonetheless, an affiliation could also be exempt from the registration obligation if:
A. The annual quantity of funds raised nor the quantity of funds distributed has exceeded CHF 100’000.- in every of the final two monetary years;
B. The funds are distributed by way of a monetary middleman throughout the that means of the AMLA;
C. At the very least one consultant of the affiliation is domiciled in Switzerland.
Entry within the industrial register implies the duty to maintain accounts and to current the annual accounts in accordance with the Code of Obligations. Moreover, the associations involved must preserve an inventory of their members and be sure that they are often represented by an individual domiciled in Switzerland. From the viewpoint of the debt assortment legislation, the affiliation is topic to enforcement.
Important modifications have been launched relating to the associations required to register, as they’re now obliged to take care of an inventory of members. The brand new necessities embody itemizing members with their full title or firm title, together with their tackle and guaranteeing that the record is at all times accessible in Switzerland. It is very important notice that sure obligations could apply to associations which register voluntarily within the industrial register, though they aren’t obliged to take action. It is very important notice that present associations affected by the current legislation change are granted a grace interval of 18 months from the entry into drive of the change on March 19, 2021 (i.e. from January 1, 2023 to July 1, 2024, so far as the legislation associations are involved). ) to make sure compliance with the brand new obligations. This transitional interval permits associations to make the required changes to their inside processes and procedures, so as to absolutely adjust to the brand new authorized necessities.
You might be suggested to adjust to Swiss anti-money laundering legal guidelines by adopting a risk-based method, performing due diligence and corroborating the plausibility of the policyholder’s assertion. Whilst you have flexibility to confirm the id of the useful proprietor, it’s important to train discretion and observe a risk-based method.
Additionally it is really useful to pay attention to the obligations underneath the MLA to periodically test and replace the shopper info obtained throughout due diligence, whatever the degree of danger. Whereas there could also be prices to compliance, these modifications are needed to make sure regulatory compliance and to guard your enterprise from potential authorized and reputational dangers. We due to this fact suggest that you simply assessment your present insurance policies and procedures to make sure compliance with the brand new provision.
On the subject of transparency for associations, it’s advisable to assessment the actions of your affiliation and decide whether or not registration within the industrial register and upkeep of an inventory of members is required. Ought to this show needed, it’s endorsed that proactive steps be taken to make sure well timed compliance throughout the 18-month transitional interval.