Regulatory Requirements and Guidance for Anti-Money Laundering

Scope of the Act

The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, as amended by Part 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 2013 (“the Act”), defines the following as designated persons and sets out the scope of the Act. It defines Credit and Financial Institutions to include:

  • Credit Institutions
  • Credit unions
  • Electronic money institutions
  • Retail credit firms
  • Moneylenders
  • Insurance undertakings and insurance intermediaries
  • Investment business firms
  • Collective investment schemes
  • Funds and Fund services providers
  • Bureaux de Change and Money transmission Businesses

The Act also applies to any entities, regardless of regulatory status, engaged in:

  • taking deposits
  • lending
  • leasing
  • payment services as defined in Directive 2007/64/EU
  • issuing or administering means of payment
  • providing guarantees
  • trading in money market instruments, foreign exchange, futures and options, exchange rate instruments or transferable securities
  • participating in securities issues
  • advising on capital structure, or industrial strategy or advising on or providing services relating to mergers and the purchase of undertakings
  • money broking
  • portfolio management and advice
  • safekeeping and administration of securities
  • safe custody services
  • issuing electronic money

Obligations under the Act

Designated persons under the Act, including all credit and financial institutions, have statutory obligations to comply with the provisions of the Act. Designated persons are therefore obliged to implement appropriate policies and procedures to ensure compliance. The primary source of regulatory guidance for all designated persons is the Act and credit and financial institutions must refer to the provisions of the Act to ascertain their statutory obligations.

The Central Bank of Ireland (the “Central Bank”) is specified in the Act as the State competent authority for credit and financial institutions. The Central Bank, pursuant to section 63 of the Act, is responsible for effectively monitoring credit and financial institutions’ compliance with their obligations.

In fulfilling its role as state competent authority, the Central Bank issues notification that credit and financial institutions should have regard to the following:

  • all financial and credit institutions must comply with their statutory obligations
  • the Central Bank conducts on-site inspections and other supervisory engagements across the financial sector to effectively monitor that there is compliance and effective implementation of the relevant statutory obligations
  • emphasis will be placed on compliance with the requirements under the Act to adopt and implement policies and procedures for the assessment and management of risks of money laundering and terrorist financing
  • policies and procedures must be up-to-date and available for inspection, and that senior management (including boards of directors) can demonstrate full awareness of their responsibilities
  • measures will be taken by the Central Bank that are reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing compliance and there are a wide range of administrative sanctions available to the Central Bank to utilize to this end, if necessary

Financial Services Industry Guidelines (“the Guidelines”) were published by the Department of Finance in February 2012 to assist the financial industry in interpreting and effectively complying with their statutory obligations under the Act. The Guidelines are for guidance purposes only and designated persons must always refer directly to the Act when ascertaining their statutory obligations. The Central Bank may have regard to the Guidelines in assessing compliance by designated persons with the Act.

Risk Evaluation Questionnaire ('REQ') Return

Credit and financial institutions are required to have anti-money laundering ('AML') and countering financing of terrorism ('CFT') preventive measures in place, including policies, procedures and processes, to ensure compliance with the Act. There is also an obligation to comply with EU Council Regulations that set out financial sanctions (FS) measures.

The Central Bank has developed a REQ in order to seek information regarding individual firms' exposure to Money Laundering ('ML')/Terrorist Financing ('TF') risks and also their AML-CFT compliance framework.

Firms selected by the Central Bank to submit an REQ are required to submit the REQ in the specified format, through the Central Bank's Online Reporting System ('ONR'), within the time period specified on ONR.

Risk-Evaluation-Questionnaire | xls 101 KB REQ Guidance Materials | pdf 1051 KB