We have updated this post! We are leaving this post up as to not disturb any saved links; however, please visit our more recent post, FINRA Rule 3310: Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program, for current information on the topic.

About a month ago, FINRA announced that it would be fining Raymond James & Associates and Raymond James Financial Services for $17 million for widespread failures in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance. The former AML Compliance Officer at Raymond James & Associates, Linda Busby, was suspended three months and fined for $25,000 herself. No one at Raymond James, Ms. Busby or otherwise, was participating in the intense, dramatic money-laundering schemes seen in fiction; instead, the firms simply grew much more quickly than their compliance systems did, resulting in many possible incidents of suspicious activity going undetected or uninvestigated. As Raymond James’ recent fine shows, it is very important to keep up-to-date with AML Compliance.

FINRA Rule 3310: Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program

FINRA Rule 3310 sets forth minimum standards for anti-money laundering compliance programs for Broker-Dealers. Each FINRA member firm is required to implement a written AML program. This program must be reasonably designed to achieve and monitor compliance with the requirements of The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970 (more commonly known as the “Bank Secrecy Act” or “BSA”) and with the implementing regulations declared thereunder by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The AML compliance program must also be approved, in writing, by a member of the firm’s senior management.

In accordance with the BSA, FINRA Rules 3310 also requires member firms to, at a minimum:

  • Establish and implement policies and procedures that can reasonably be expected to detect and cause the reporting of suspicious transactions relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation, pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) and the implementing regulations thereunder;
  • Establish and implement policies, procedures, and internal controls reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and the implementing regulations thereunder;
  • Provide for independent testing for anti-money laundering compliance annually (on a calendar-year basis). Testing must be conducted by member personnel or by a qualified outside party. However, if the firm does not participate in certain activities – executing transactions for customers, otherwise holding customer accounts, or acting as an introducing broker with respect to customer accounts (e.g. doing business only with other broker-dealers or engaging only in proprietary trading) – then the aforementioned “independent testing” is required every two years (on a calendar-year basis) instead;
  • Designate and identify an individual or individuals responsible for implementing and monitoring the day-to-day operations and internal controls of the anti-money laundering compliance program. The individual or individuals must be designated and identified to FINRA by name, title, mailing address, email address, telephone number, and facsimile (fax) number, and prompt notification must be provided to FINRA regarding any changes in such designation(s). The individual or individuals must also be an associated person or associated persons of the firm.

Additional rules and regulations relevant to AML compliance include the USA PATRIOT Act and MSRB Final Rule G-41. More information about AML compliance and procedures, as well as AML forms and templates, can be found on FINRA’s AML compliance overview pages.

For more articles regarding AML, please see our other blogs on the subject.