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Don’t Panic: June 2018 AML Update for DPMSs

As you may have heard, in 2018 the Department of Finance released draft updates to Canada’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) legislation. If you’re the type that likes to read the original legislative text, you can find it here.

For the rest of us, we’ve summarized the proposed updates and what they might mean for your business below.

Why is it a draft?

Publishing proposed amendments as a draft provides reporting entities like dealers in precious metals and stones (DPMSs), our industry associations like the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) and members of the general public, the opportunity to read the draft and suggest changes. There is a 90-day window from the original June 9th, 2018 publication date during which comments are accepted (meaning that comments should be submitted to the Department of Finance by early September).

After this, the Department of Finance will take the comments, synthesize them, request additional clarification where needed, and draft a final version of the amendments. The final version is likely to look fairly similar to the draft, with some changes. From the date that the final version is published, we expect that reporting entities will have 12 months to adjust their compliance programs and operations.

Practically speaking, this means that you should start thinking about what this means to you and your business now. However, while it can be useful to start teeing up resources (especially if you think that your IT systems need to be updated), it often makes sense to wait until the final version has been published to make changes. If you have thoughts on the proposed changes, it also means that you should consider submitting these, either independently or through an industry association. CJA members should contact Carla Adams (carla@canadianjewellers.com).

What does it mean for my business?

While there are quite a number of proposed changes (the draft is about 200 pages in length), some are likely to have more of an impact on DPMSs than others. We’ve summarized the changes that we expect to have the most impact here.

Large Virtual Currency Transaction Reporting

If you accept payments using virtual currencies like bitcoin, these will be treated similarly to cash payments. For any payments valued at CAD 10,000 or more made by or on behalf of the same person or entity in a 24-hour period, you will need to identify the customer and submit a report to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Non-Face-To-Face Customer Identification

Currently, there is a requirement that when customers are identified using the dual process method, the document and/or data that you collect is in its “original” format. This has been interpreted to mean that if the customer receives a utility bill in the mail, they must send you the original paper (not scanned or copied) document. The word “original” will be replaced with “authentic” (meaning that so long as you believe that the utility bill is a real utility bill for that person, it doesn’t need to be the same piece of paper that they received in the mail).

In addition, there are provisions that would allow reporting entities to rely on the identification conducted previously by other reporting entities. If this method is used to identify a customer, the reporting entity must immediately obtain the identification information from the other reporting entity and have a written agreement in place requiring the entity doing the identification to provide the identification verification within 3 days of the request.

Suspicious Transaction Reporting

Currently, if a reporting entity has reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction or requested transaction is related to money laundering or terrorist financing, a report must be submitted to FINTRAC within 30 days of the date that a fact was discovered that caused the suspicion. This was changed in the last round of amendments that came into force last year, and the proposed new wording would be another significant change:

The person or entity shall send the report to the Centre within three days after the day on which measures taken by them enable them to establish that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the transaction or attempted transaction is related to the commission of a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence.

This means that a report would be due three days after the reporting entity conducts an investigation or does something else that allows them to reach the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to suspect.

Information Included In Reports to FINTRAC

Certain information is required in reports to FINTRAC. Even where information is marked as being optional, if a reporting entity has the information, it becomes mandatory to include it. Some of the additional proposed data fields are:

  • every reference number that is connected to the transaction,
  • every other known detail that identifies the receipt (of cash for large cash transactions),
  • type of device used by person who makes request online,
  • number that identifies device,
  • internet protocol address (IP address) used by device,
  • person’s user name, and
  • date and time of person’s online session in which request is made.

These fields may require significantly more data to be included in reports, especially for transactions that are conducted online.

New Products & Delivery Channels

One of the deficiencies identified in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) review of Canada was not having a requirement to assess new technologies before their launch. A proposed amendment would require all reporting entities to assess the risk related to assess the risk of products and their delivery channels, as well as the risk associated with the use of new technologies, prior to their launch.

This has been a best practice since the requirement to conduct a risk assessment came into force, but this change would make this a formal requirement.

Defining a DPMS

The proposed amendments would change the definition of a DPMS slightly to read:

(1) A dealer in precious metals and precious stones, other than a department or an agent or mandatary of Her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province, that buys or sells precious metals, precious stones or jewellery for an amount of $10,000 or more is engaged in an activity for the purposes of paragraph 5(i) of the Act. A department or an agent or mandatary of Her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province carries out an activity for the purposes of paragraph 5(l) of the Act when they sell precious metals to the public for an amount of $10,000 or more.

(2) The activities referred to in subsection (1) do not include a purchase or sale that is carried out in the course of or in connection with manufacturing a product that contains precious metals or precious stones, extracting precious metals or precious stones from a mine or polishing or cutting precious stones.

(3) For greater certainty, the activities referred to in subsection (1) include the sale of precious metals, precious stones or jewellery that are left on consignment with a dealer in precious metals and precious stones. Goods left with an auctioneer for sale at auction are not considered to be left on consignment.

Neither the PCMLTFA nor the Regulations define consignment. This may need to be addressed, as the understanding of the term can vary.

Exempt Low Risk Activities

Certain activities are currently exempt from the DPMS designation, including manufacturing jewellery, extracting precious metals or precious stones from a mine, and cutting or polishing precious stones. The exempt activities would be expanded to capture other types of manufacturing processes that may also involve the use or consumption of precious metals and stones (e.g. diamonds used to manufacture drill bits). This is described as being consistent with the original policy intent.

What’s next?

If you would like to make a comment about the proposed changes to the Department of Finance during the comment period (which closes in early September), the contact person is:

Lynn Hemmings

Acting Director General

Financial Systems Division

Financial Sector Policy Branch

Department of Finance

90 Elgin Street

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0G5

Email: fin.fc-cf.fin@canada.ca

If you would like to submit comments via an industry association, and you are a member of CJA, please contact carla@canadianjewellers.com.

If you have questions about AML & CTF compliance generally, please feel free to contact us.

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