Friday, October 31, 2008

FinCEN Withdraws Proposed Rulemaking for Unregistered Investment Companies

On September 26, 2002, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, proposing to require unregistered investment companies to establish and implement anti-money laundering programs. (Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies, 67 FR 60617 (Sep. 26, 2002))

In that notice of proposed rulemaking, FinCEN proposed to define the term “unregistered investment company” as (1) an issuer that, but for certain exclusions, would be an investment company as that term is defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, (2) a commodity pool, and (3) a company that invests primarily in real estate and/or interests in real estate. FinCEN proposed requiring these companies to file a notice so that FinCEN could readily identify such companies and require them to establish and implement anti-money laundering programs.

I have been watching that rule-making process because it could have a profound impact on buying and selling real estate. For big commercial transactions we keep an eye on the parties to see if there is a reason to be wary and to see if they on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. But I had some concern that they could extend the "know your customer" rules deep into real estate transactions imposing lots of administrative overhead for little benefit. 

Yesterday, FinCEN gave notice under 31 CFR Part 103 Withdrawal of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Unregistered Investment Companies . FinCEN is not abandoning the possibility of pursing the rulemaking. Given the six year span since the notice, they feel it has gone stale. If (or when) they decide to proceed with an anti-money laundering program requirement for unregistered investment companies, they will publish a new notice.

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