Financial Crime Developments, Resources and Stories: February 2024 Edition

Welcome to the February 2024 summary of news you can use as your bank or other financial institution attempts to stay up to date on the world of BSA/AML compliance. Our monthly series of curated news about financial crime developments, resources and stories.  

In this edition, four main stories emerge: 

  • FinCen proposes rule to combat FinCrime in the investment advisory sector
  • Standard Chartered again linked to US-sanctioned Iranian firms
  • The EU removes the Cayman Islands and Jordan from its list of high-risk third countries
  • ICBC to pay US regulators $32.4 million for AML lapses

We hope you find the following information roundup useful to your efforts in fending off financial crimes and staying in compliance with increasingly complex regulatory regimes.


FinCEN Proposes Rule to Combat Illicit Finance and National Security Threats in Investment Adviser Sector

On February 13, 2024, FinCEN issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to keep criminals and foreign adversaries from exploiting the U.S. financial system and assets through investment advisers. The rule specifically calls out registered investment advisers and exempt reporting advisers. It is entitled, Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism Program and Suspicious Activity Report Filing Requirements for Registered Investment Advisers and Exempt Reporting Advisers.

This proposed rule will add further transparency to the U.S. financial system and help assist law enforcement in identifying illicit proceeds entering the U.S. economy. The rule would require investment advisers to apply Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), including:

  1. Implementing risk-based AML/CFT programs
  2. Reporting suspicious activity to FinCEN
  3. Fulfilling recordkeeping requirements.

Simultaneously, the US Treasury also published its risk assessment of the adviser sector, which identifies illicit finance threats and vulnerabilities in the sector, including how the uneven application of AML/CFT requirements across the sector allows both legitimate and illicit investors to “shop around” for an adviser who does not need to inquire into their source of wealth.

Read here for further details:

FinCEN Proposes Rule to Combat Illicit Finance and National Security Threats in Investment Adviser Sector |


Standard Chartered Plc again linked to US-sanctioned Iranian firms

According to the London-based Times’s analysis of leaked bank records, as reported by BNN Bloomberg on February 11, 2024, Standard Chartered Plc provided banking services to a Chinese firm that was importing goods from two US-sanctioned Iranian companies.

The Times stated that the leaked banking records suggest Standard Chartered’s services were used for trades worth £2.1 million between 2020 and 2021 between the Chinese firm and the two Iranian companies, through Indian intermediaries.

This news follows on the heels of Standard Chartered bank being fined $1.1bn (£843m) in 2019 for violating US sanctions against Iran and over inadequate financial crime controls.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that Iran evaded sanctions and was able to covertly move money around the world using accounts at two of the UK’s biggest banks, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Santander UK. Both banks said that they hadn’t breached US sanctions.

Read here for further details: BNN Bloomberg


The EU removes the Cayman Islands and Jordan from its list of high-risk third countries

As of February 7, 2024, the European Union officially removed the Cayman Islands and Jordan from its list of high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their regimes on anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). This aligns with FATF’s removal from its list at its plenary meeting from October 2023.

According to the European Commission’s associated Delegation of Regulation pertaining to the matter, “The FATF has welcomed the significant progress made by the Cayman Islands and Jordan in improving their AML/CFT regimes and has noted that those countries have established legal and regulatory frameworks to meet the commitments in their respective action plans on the strategic deficiencies identified by the FATF. The Cayman Islands and Jordan are therefore no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process under its ongoing global AML/CFT compliance process and will continue to work with their FATF-style regional bodies to further strengthen their AML/CFT regimes.”

Read here for further details:

Delegated regulation – EU – 2024/163 – EN – EUR-Lex (


ICBC to pay US regulators $32.4 million for AML lapses

The Federal Reserve announced on January 15, 2024 that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) and its New York branch will pay $32.4 million in penalties for the unauthorized use and disclosure of confidential supervisory information.

The joint action by the Fed and New York’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) came after ICBC disclosed information to a third party without regulatory approval. That third party was a foreign regulator.

NYDFS stated that the order resolved “numerous” compliance failures, including multiple deficiencies in the New York branch’s AML program between 2018 and 2022.

Read here for further details:

ICBC to pay $32.4 mln to US regulators over AML lapses, supervisory information disclosure | Reuters

To access in-depth insights on how your organization can more effectively and efficiently overcome BSA/AML compliance challenges, visit the Resources page at WorkFusion to gain in-depth insights and a wide range of best practices information.

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