FATF Upgrades Assessment of U.S. Regarding Beneficial Ownership Framework

In a significant development for the industry, the Financial Action Task Force recently upgraded its assessment of the United States’ anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism compliance framework. Among other things, the FATF in a recent report found that the U.S. is “largely compliant” with beneficial ownership requirements, noting that FinCEN’s 2016 beneficial ownership rule and industry compliance with the rule has provided increased transparency since taking effect.

The task force identified several lingering deficiencies, including a lack of a national beneficial ownership registry. ABA has long called for the establishment of a national database, and supported two recent bills that would do so: the Illicit Cash Act, which is pending in the Senate, and the Corporate Transparency Act, which passed the House last October with bipartisan support.

Additionally, FATF said that the U.S. could take additional actions to extend the scope of the rule to designated non-financial businesses and professions, including trust and service company providers, lawyers and accountants.