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Consultation of the EBA on the new guidelines relating to the role, tasks and attributions of compliance officers in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AML / CFT)

August 24, 2021 | News, Ongoing consultations

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has launched a public consultation on the new guidelines on the role, tasks and responsibilities of compliance officers in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AML / CFT) ). The guidelines also include provisions on the broader AML / CFT governance framework, including at group level. Once adopted, these guidelines will apply to all financial sector operators that fall within the scope of the AML Directive. This consultation is open until November 2, 2021.

The draft guidelines address, for the first time at EU level, the entire AML / CFT governance system. It sets clear expectations as to the role, tasks and responsibilities of the AML / CFT compliance officer and the management body, as well as their interaction, including at group level. AML / CFT compliance officers must have a sufficient level of seniority. This implies the power to propose, on their own initiative, all necessary or appropriate measures to ensure the compliance and effectiveness of internal AML / CFT measures to the management body in its supervisory and management function.

Without prejudice to the overall and collective responsibility of the management body, the draft guidelines also specify the tasks and role of the member of the board of directors, or of the senior manager in the absence of a board of directors, who is responsible for the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism as a whole, as well as the role of the group's compliance officers in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Since the information reaching the management body should be sufficiently complete to allow informed decision-making, the draft guidelines indicate what information should at least be included in the activity report of the compliance officer in matters of AML / CFT to the management body.

When a financial services operator is part of a group, the draft guidelines provide that an AML / CFT compliance officer within the parent company should be appointed to oversee the establishment and the implementation of effective group-wide AML / CFT policies and procedures and to ensure that any failure of the AML / CFT system affecting the whole group or a large part of the group is dealt with effectively.

The provisions of the draft guidelines are designed to be applied in a proportionate manner, taking into account the diversity of financial sector operators who fall within the scope of the AML Directive. They are also in line with existing AES guidelines, in particular: revised guidelines on internal governance under the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD); the revised joint ESMA and EBA guidelines on the assessment of the suitability of members of the management body; the draft guidelines on the authorization of credit institutions; and the draft guidelines on common procedures and methodologies for the supervisory review and assessment process (SREP) and prudential stress testing.