WOCCU Applauds FATF Strengthening of Beneficial Ownership Standards

The Financial Action Task Force made amendments to FATF Recommendation 24 and its Interpretive Note to strengthen the international standards on beneficial ownership of legal persons to ensure greater transparency about the ultimate ownership and control of legal persons.  This not only will mitigate the risks of their misuse, but will require Countries to have a public authority or body function as a beneficial ownership registry (or alternative mechanism) that can provide efficient access to adequate, accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information by competent authorities.

If implemented properly, these changes have the potential to reduce the regulatory burden for credit unions at account opening when performing due diligence for purposes of their AML/CFT requirements.  Obtaining beneficial ownership information often present numerous challenges for credit unions and at times can prevent access to legitimate financial transactions or services.

Further, the rules will address the significant misuses of legal persons for money laundering, terrorist financing, and also for proliferation financing in many jurisdictions. 

WOCCU has consistently called for such a database to be maintained by national authorities that credit unions can rely on when performing their AML/CFT obligations. 

A copy of the release by FATF can be viewed here.