AMLC tweaks rules for registration of covered persons

THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council (AMLC) is revising its guidelines for covered persons under the amended Anti-Money Laundering Act to let more developers and brokers register with the regulator.

“Once the deadline has been set, appropriate penalties pursuant to existing regulations will be imposed for those who fail to register on time,” AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela said in a Viber message.

He said the draft guidelines set the new deadline on June 30. The AMLC has extended the registration period from the initial March 16 deadline to allow more covered persons to register and amid several proposals from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and stakeholders for tweaks in the revised Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorism Financing Guidelines for Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions.

The revised guidelines will also outline the documentary requirements for the registration process with the AMLC and enforcement actions that could be faced by covered persons that fail to register within the deadline.

Mr. Racela said AMLC data as of April 30 showed 2,272 real estate brokers have registered so far. Meanwhile, some 501 real estate developers and 72 Philippine offshore gaming operator service providers also completed their registration as covered persons of the AMLC.

A certificate of registration with the AMLC is part of the Know Your Customer mandate for banks when dealing with real estate brokers and developers, Mr. Racela said.

“If the latter fail to submit this, then banks may be cited for violation of its Know Your Customer obligations. But because the deadline to register has not yet been set, Banks may be liberal to give them until the deadline has lapsed,” he said.

Real estate brokers and developers became covered persons of the AMLA through the passage of the Republic Act 11521 earlier this year. The measure tightened the country’s rules to battle dirty money and terrorism financing in view of recommendations set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

While the country passed the law before the Feb. 1 deadline set by the global “dirty money” watchdog, the country still needs to prove it is implementing tangible, stricter rules against money laundering and terrorism financing.

“The Philippines now needs to demonstrate that our anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing legal and institutional framework is producing the expected results over a sustained period,” Mr. Racela said.

In April, an assessment by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank stated the country could still be back to the FATF’s “gray list” of countries with serious deficiencies on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing “without major reforms by June 2021.”

The report cited the need to ease the country’s Bank Secrecy Law as another measure to boost the country’s guard against “dirty money.” — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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