AML in France

France faces challenges related to money laundering and various financial crimes. Money laundering gives rise to economic and administrative risks that countries are striving to counteract through the implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies. These policies are designed to safeguard the economic and administrative foundations of nations. In this pursuit, France has outlined the concept of money laundering within its AML policies and legally classified it as a criminal offense.

As an economically advanced nation, France adopts an approach to combat financial crimes by overseeing financial institutions through the lens of AML regulations. These regulations are obligatory for entities vulnerable to money laundering risks, particularly financial institutions. Consequently, entities subject to AML requirements develop comprehensive AML programs aimed at fulfilling these obligations. By implementing these AML programs, organizations fortify themselves against financial crimes and ensure their alignment with AML standards.

Playing a pivotal role in regulating the French financial markets, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) exercises its authority over anti-money laundering regulations as well. The AMF possesses the ability to establish new guidelines and impose penalties to deter financial crimes. Additionally, the AMF represents France in international contexts and strives to ensure that the country’s AML regulations are in harmony with those outlined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the European Union.

France’s adherence to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive is of paramount importance. These directives encompass broader European regulations concerning AML practices. Examples of these directives include the EU’s 5th and 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directives. Non-compliance with these regulations may lead to sanctions imposed by the European Union. Consequently, all member states, including France, are obligated to adhere to the European Union’s anti-money laundering regulations.

The regulatory scope of the French authority includes various sectors:

– Financial Markets
– Listed Companies
– Investment Firms and Investment Management Companies
– Token Issuers (ICO) and Digital Asset Service Providers (DASP)

AML Program Establishment

All entities subject to obligations are mandated to formulate an AML program geared towards preventing financial crimes. The AML Policy, encompassing the company’s control procedures for anti-money laundering, is integral to this effort. As a crucial step, organizations are required to appoint AML/Compliance officers who are tasked with executing and overseeing AML programs. The AML Compliance officers bear the responsibility of ensuring the organization’s adherence to AML regulations, along with the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions.

Customer Verification and Ongoing Monitoring

In the context of operating within France, organizations are obliged to employ diverse methods to scrutinize their customers during the initiation of client accounts, in line with AML policies. The initial step entails customer identity verification through the “Know Your Customer (KYC)” framework. Following identity confirmation, the organization must assess the customer’s risk level using the “Customer Due Diligence (CDD)” procedure. This entails screening the customer against sanctions, Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), and barred lists. Based on the outcomes of these checks, account openings proceed for eligible customers.

Additionally, organizations implement customer monitoring to accommodate potential shifts in risk levels over time. Periodic re-application of onboarding controls ensures that high-risk customers are promptly identified.

Transaction Monitoring

To identify suspicious customer transactions, Transaction Monitoring tools are utilized. Specific rules are defined for customer transactions, and the system generates alerts if these rules are triggered during transaction processing. The AML or Compliance officer assesses these alerts, and in the case of a detected suspicious transaction, promptly forwards the report to the appropriate units. Employing transaction monitoring tools lightens the workload while enhancing the ability to pinpoint financial crimes and ensure AML compliance.

Transaction and Payment Screening

Transaction and Payment Screening tools play a pivotal role in evaluating the buyer or sender during customer money transfer transactions. This process entails scanning both the recipient and sender against sanctions, terrorist lists, PEP databases, and prohibited registers. Neglecting customer transaction checks undermines an organization’s defenses against financial crimes. Regulatory bodies impose diverse penalties on entities found engaged in illicit transactions.