On 17 May 2021, there was published a speech by Mairead McGuinness (European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union) at the AML Intelligence Boardroom series.

Key points in the speech include:

  • In May last year the European Commission set out its vision for the EU’s future anti-money laundering (AML) system in an Action Plan. The Commission will unveil its package of reforms in July.
  • At the heart of the Commission’s package will be more harmonised rules and a new AML authority at the EU level.
  • The rules for the private sector will be laid down in a directly-applicable EU regulation.
  • There will be the same rules across the EU in the most substantial areas. In other areas, there will be some margin for Member States in relation to how they want to organise their system, especially as regards the details about how national supervision and financial intelligence units work.
  • An important component of the new rulebook will be legally binding technical standards to be developed by the future AML authority, which will add more granularity to the top level rules in the regulation and bring about more harmonisation.
  • The Commission will also review the list of sectors covered by AML rules. The first step will be to align it with the latest Financial Action Task Force standards and cover all types of virtual asset service providers as obliged entities.
  • Another part of the Commission’s plan is to increase the detail in some areas already included in the AML Directive such as customer due diligence and beneficial ownership.
  • AML enforcement remains a top priority for the Commission. A key priority is making sure that beneficial ownership registers are up and running and fully populated. The Commission is also working on the cross-border interconnection between national beneficial ownership registers – which should start later this year.