The BCBS expands its guidelines on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing with a "General guide to account opening"

4 February 2016

Press release

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has today issued the final revised version of the General guide to account opening, first published in 2003.

The Basel Committee deems it worthwhile to issue this guide as an annex to the guidelines on the Sound management of risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism, which was first published in January 2014. These guidelines revised, updated and merged two previous publications of the Basel Committee, issued in 2001 and 2004.

Most bank-customer relationships start with an account-opening procedure. The customer information collected and verified at this stage is crucial to the bank in order for it to fulfil its AML/CFT obligations, both at the inception of the customer relationship and thereafter, but it is also useful in protecting it against potential abuses, such as fraud or identity theft. The policies and procedures for account opening that all banks need to establish must reflect AML/CFT obligations.

The revised version of the General guide to account opening and customer identification takes into account the significant enhancements to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations and related guidance. In particular, it builds on the FATF Recommendations, as well as on two supplementary FATF publications specifically relevant for this guide: Guidance for a risk-based approach: The banking sector and Transparency and beneficial ownership, both issued in October 2014.

As for the remainder of the guidelines, the content of the proposed guide is in no way intended to strengthen, weaken or otherwise modify the FATF standards. Rather, it aims to support banks in implementing the FATF standards and guidance, which requires the adoption of specific policies and procedures, in particular on account opening.

A consultative version was issued in July 2015. The Basel Committee wishes to thank all those who took the trouble to express their views during the consultation process.