BSP’s New Beneficial Ownership Guidelines: What You Need to Know

3 mins

Beneficial ownership due diligence has become a critical component in the fight against financial crimes. With the growing complexity of financial transactions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued new guidelines aimed at enhancing transparency and ensuring that financial institutions can effectively identify and verify the true owners behind corporate entities. This blog post will discuss the key aspects of these new guidelines and their implications for financial institutions.

Overview of the New Guidelines

The new guidelines issued by the BSP aim to improve the transparency of financial transactions by enhancing the identification and verification of beneficial owners. These guidelines are designed to ensure that financial institutions can accurately determine who the true owners are behind corporate entities, thereby reducing the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. All BSP-supervised financial institutions are required to adhere to these new regulations, which mandate stricter due diligence and continuous monitoring processes.

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Key Points of the Guidelines

  1. Enhanced Identification Processes: The BSP requires financial institutions to implement more stringent criteria for identifying beneficial owners. This includes using both ownership thresholds and control prongs to accurately determine who the beneficial owners are.

  2. Verification Measures: Institutions must verify beneficial ownership information against reliable sources. A risk-based approach should be adopted, enhancing verification measures for high-risk clients and simplifying them for low-risk ones.

  3. Ongoing Monitoring and Updates: Financial institutions are expected to continuously update beneficial ownership information and monitor accounts and transactions regularly to detect any suspicious activities.

  4. Record-Keeping and Information Sharing: Robust policies for maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of beneficial owners are essential. Financial institutions must also be prepared to share this information with competent authorities as required by law.

Impact on Financial Institutions

The new BSP guidelines on beneficial ownership due diligence have significant implications for financial institutions:

  1. Operational Changes: Financial institutions will need to adjust their compliance procedures to align with the new guidelines. This includes implementing more rigorous systems for data collection and verification.

  2. Risk Management: Enhanced identification and verification processes will improve the ability of financial institutions to identify and mitigate risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing.

  3. Compliance Costs: Institutions may experience an increase in compliance-related expenses due to the need for more thorough processes. However, these costs are necessary to ensure adherence to the new standards and to protect the integrity of the financial system.

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Adapting to the Changes

  1. Training and Development: Financial institutions must invest in training their staff on the new procedures and requirements. Comprehensive training programs will ensure that all employees understand and can effectively implement the new guidelines.

  2. Technology Integration: Leveraging advanced technology is crucial for better data management and compliance. Financial institutions should integrate systems that facilitate accurate data collection, verification, and continuous monitoring.

  3. Policy Updates: Internal policies need to be revised to align with the new BSP guidelines. Institutions should ensure that their policies are robust and comprehensive, covering all aspects of the new requirements.

Final Thoughts

The new BSP guidelines on beneficial ownership due diligence are crucial for enhancing transparency and combating financial crimes. By implementing stringent identification and verification processes, continuously monitoring accounts, and maintaining robust records, financial institutions can better manage and mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Adapting to these changes will require dedicated training, technological integration, policy updates, and collaborative efforts.

For more information on how to effectively implement these guidelines and enhance your AML compliance, talk to our experts today. Discover how our FinCense, powered by the AFC Ecosystem, can help your institution stay ahead of regulatory requirements. Contact us now for a consultation.