On 10 February 2012 the Department of Finance issued a set of Anti-Money Laundering guidelines (the Core Guidelines) which designated persons can look to when developing policies and procedures to fulfill their obligations under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act) 2010 (the Act).
The Core Guidelines are not guidelines within the meaning of Section 107 of the Act which in essence means that designated persons cannot rely on compliance with the guidelines if, in the future, they suffer sanction for failure to comply with the Act. However, the Central Bank has indicated that they "will have regard to the guidelines in assessing compliance by designated persons with the Act".
The guidelines acknowledge that designated persons in different industry sectors may require more specific guidelines depending on the nature of their business. Investment funds face significant challenges in ensuring their policies and procedures meet a uniform set of standards in order to comply with the Act.
The Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) has set about the task of developing a set of sectoral guidance notes for the funds industry. An initial draft of these sectoral guidance notes was due to be submitted to the Central Bank of Ireland for review in early June. It is likely that the sectoral guidance notes will not, similar to the Core Guidelines, be deemed guidelines for the purposes of Section 107 of the Act however they will be the standard which the Central Bank will look to when assessing whether an investment fund has adequate controls in place to ensure anti-money laundering risks are being appropriately dealt with.
We will provide a further update on the progress of these sectoral guidance notes as the Central Bank's discussions with the IFIA develop.