An amended version of the ENABLERS Act (“Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security”), informally known as the “Gatekeepers Amendment” introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), cleared the House on Thursday, July 14, 2022. If passed, the bill would impose anti-money laundering requirements on professional “gatekeepers” such as attorneys, accountants, and other non-banking professionals if they provide certain services. The Act would drastically broaden the definition of a “financial institution” under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to capture a much wider variety of individuals and entities. If you provide corporate formation, trust, third-party payment, or similar legal or accounting services, you could be considered a “financial institution” under the BSA, and therefore have various anti-money laundering (“AML”) responsibilities including possibly the duty to maintain an AML program and file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding your customers and clients.
Why this is important. If the ENABLERS Act is passed into law, even a trimmed-down version of this amendment will significantly alter the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) regulatory framework in the US and impacts a number of professions not previously covered. Given the material changes in the amendment, it leaves the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), which implements the BSA, stretched thin in terms of resources due to the myriad of other Congressionally- imposed tasks and deadlines. Stay tuned, as we will be following this story closely as it develops in the coming months!