As anticipated, the Office of Foreign Assets Control today issued compliance guidelines to help banks develop appropriate sanctions compliance programs. The guidance emphasizes the importance of a risk-based approach to sanctions for the development, implementation and updating of a sanctions compliance program. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker announced that OFAC was in the process of developing the guidance at the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference in December.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, since each bank’s sanctions compliance program will depend on a variety of factors, the guidance notes that every program should include five essential elements: management commitment; risk assessment; internal controls; testing and auditing; and training. As it has done previously, OFAC will consider a bank’s sanctions compliance program when imposing any penalties for a sanctions violation, the guidance said.