The European Banking Authority (EBA) recently launched a public consultation on new Guidelines on the role, tasks and responsibilities of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance officers. The Guidelines also include provisions on the wider AML/CFT governance set-up, including at the level of the group. Once adopted, these Guidelines will apply to all financial sector operators that are within the scope of the AML Directive. This consultation runs until 2 November 2021.
The draft Guidelines comprehensively address, for the first time at the level of the EU, the whole AML/CFT governance set-up. They set clear expectations of the role, tasks and responsibilities of the AML/CFT compliance officer and the management body and how they interact, including at group level. AML/CFT compliance officers need to have a sufficient level of seniority, which entails the powers to propose, on their own initiative, all necessary or appropriate measures to ensure the compliance and effectiveness of the 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 management board, or the senior manager where no management board exists, who are in charge of AML/CFT overall, and on the role of group AML/CFT compliance officers. As information reaching the management body needs to be sufficiently comprehensive to enable informed decision-making, the draft Guidelines set out which information should be at least included in the activity report of the AML/CFT compliance officer to the management body.
Where a financial services operator is part of a group, the draft Guidelines provide that a Group AML/CFT compliance officer in the parent company should be appointed to ensure the establishment and implementation of effective group-wide AML/CFT policies and procedures and to ensure that any shortcomings in the AML/CFT framework affecting the entire group or a large part of the group are addressed effectively.
Provisions in the draft Guidelines are designed to be applied in a proportionate manner, taking into account the diversity of financial sector operators that are within the scope of the AML Directive. They are also in line with existing ESA guidelines, in particular: the 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 authorisation of credit institutions; and the draft Guidelines for common procedures and methodologies for the supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP) and supervisory stress testing.
Comments to the draft Guidelines can be sent by clicking on the “send your comments” button on the EBA’s consultation page. The deadline for the submission of comments is 2 November 2021.
All contributions received will be published following the close of the consultation, unless requested otherwise. The EBA will hold a virtual public hearing on the draft Guidelines on 28 September 2021 from 10:00 to 12:00 Paris time. The dial-in details will be communicated to those who have registered for the meeting.
Legal basis and background
The EBA drafted these Guidelines in line with its legal mandate to lead, coordinate and monitor the EU financial sector’s fight against ML/TF. In drafting these guidelines, the EBA fulfils a request by the Commission’s request in its Supra-National Risk Assessment (SNRA) of 2019 to develop guidance that ‘clarifies the role of AML/CFT compliance officers in credit and financial institutions’.