Journal of Investment Compliance

ISSN: 1528-5812

Article publication date: 9 July 2021

Issue publication date: 30 August 2021


The purpose of this article is to inform stakeholders about the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA), explain its impact on the U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) regime, and highlight critical updates for financial institutions.


The article provides an overview of the AMLA, and specifically addresses three key components: (1) the development of uniform beneficial ownership requirements and the creation of a beneficial ownership registry at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); (2) the expansion of FinCEN's powers and the Bank Secrecy Act/AML program requirements; and (3) new subpoena powers with potential extraterritorial effect granted to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Attorney General for documents located at foreign banks that have a correspondent banking account in the U.S. The article also notes the purpose and goals of the AMLA.


The AMLA is the first major overhaul of the U.S. AML regime since the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, and is designed to strengthen national security, protect the financial system, and simplify compliance obligations. The beneficial ownership reporting requirements represent an effort to combat illicit financial activity conducted by shell companies formed and registered in the U.S.


The article provides financial institutions with a brief overview of a lengthy new law that will impact their AML compliance obligations. Financial institutions should be on alert for forthcoming regulations.

Originally published by Emerald insight 9 July 2021.

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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