SEC Announces Two New Anti-Money Laundering Compliances Initiatives

Washington, D.C., Aug. 7, 2008 (LAWFUEL) – The Securities and Exchange Commission staff today unveiled a new one-stop online reference site to assist mutual funds in their anti-money laundering (AML) compliance efforts, and launched a new centralized phone line specifically for securities firms to report the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) that may require immediate attention by the Commission.

The AML Source Tool for Mutual Funds, originally developed for use by SEC examiners in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), provides links to key AML laws, rules and related guidance to help mutual funds maintain their AML compliance programs as required under law.

“Last year, we made our AML Source Tool for Broker-Dealers available to the public, and it has been a popular resource for securities firms and their AML compliance staff,” said Lori Richards, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. “While we initially developed these resources for our own SEC examiners, they are invaluable reference tools for industry compliance staff as well. This AML Source Tool for Mutual Funds puts all mutual fund AML requirements in one easy-to-reference location, making it easy for mutual funds to understand their AML compliance obligations in their ongoing efforts to prevent money laundering.”

OCIE along with the SEC’s Division of Enforcement created the SEC SAR Alert Message Line to centralize calls made to the Commission about SAR filings. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act expanded the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). As a result, broker-dealers and mutual funds became subject to regulations requiring them to file SARs. As provided in the SAR rules, in situations involving violations that require immediate attention, firms must immediately telephone an appropriate law enforcement authority in addition to filing a SAR. Additionally, firms wishing to voluntarily report suspicious transactions that may relate to terrorist activity can call the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) hotline at 1-866-556-3974.

The SEC SAR Alert Message Line phone number is 202-551-SARS (7277). This number should only be used when securities firms have filed a SAR that may require immediate attention by the Commission. Calling the SEC SAR Alert Message Line does not alleviate a firm’s obligation to file a SAR or notify an appropriate law enforcement authority, such as a local office of either the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division or the FBI. General questions on SARs and other BSA filing requirements may be directed to FinCEN’s Regulatory Helpline at 1-800-949-2732.

The SEC staff appreciates the assistance received from the staff of FinCEN and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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