Thu, Jan 03, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Anti-laundering guidance to be revealed next month

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Guidelines on anti-money laundering for financial institutions dealing with low-risk clients are to be announced after the Lunar New Year, Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said on Monday.

The guidelines, which are to include a reduction in examination frequency, are aimed to facilitate financial institutions’ client management without affecting their regular operations, Koo said.

As 90 percent of banks’ clients pose a low risk of money laundering, banks should not apply the same measures on all clients, but rather take actions based on their level of risk, Koo said in a statement.

High-risk clients should come under greater scrutiny and low-risk clients should receive less scrutiny, he added.

Koo’s remarks came after Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) last week reportedly told all of its clients to update their personal information and seal by Feb. 28, or become barred from using online banking services.

The commission said that the bank’s announcement was inappropriate and asked it to give clients a longer period of time to update their information, Koo said.

In response to client complaints and the commission’s request, the bank late on Monday said that it had decided to extend the deadline to the end of this year.

However, it would offer incentives to encourage clients to update their information by the end of next month, the bank said.

Except for those associated with money laundering or terrorism financing, the bank’s clients would be able to access regular services, regardless of whether they complete the update, it added.

Aiming to achieve a good grade in the third-round evaluation of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, the government has demanded that banks strengthen their “know-your-customer” procedures.

The commission said it would monitor developments and prevent banks from taking undue actions.

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