On 19th March 2021, the Swiss Federal Council voted in favour of a reform of the anti-money laundering legislation. The primary goal of the revision is to allow Switzerland to pass its next FATF country audit in 2022. Banks and financial service providers are now examining how they can implement the new due diligence duties.
The Swiss authorities want to close more and more gaps cited in the FATF mutual evaluation report (MER). The new version of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) applies to financial intermediaries and dealers that accept payments in cash. One important revision of the AMLA concerns the
- Verification of the identity of the person designated as a beneficial owner (UBO)
- Update of the clients’ data (KYC profile)
The revised Anti-Money Laundering Act is expected to enter into force mid 2022.
The Mountain of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) Is Growing
Despite the criticisms regarding lack of transparency, Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) is still faced with a mountain of suspicious activity reports. Its 2019 Annual Report shows that the volume is growing steadily and exceeded 7,000 in 2019. According to MROS, at the end of November 2019 this involved a total asset volume of CHF 12.9 billion. As in previous years, most of the assets originated from offences involving fraud or corruption.