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April 1, 2002

New Money Laundering Regs

By Gregory Bresiger

Securities firms should be given some lee- way in improving standards for detecting money laundering, according to one industry group.

While the Securities Industry Association generally lauds the tougher new anti-money laundering standards issued by the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers, the SIA is asking the regulators to slow down the implementation of some of them.

The regulations are based on the Patriot Act, which was passed by Congress earlier this year.

Not Prepared

The NASD's and NYSE's regulations require that firms establish and implement the new rules by April 24, which may be sooner that some firms are ready, SIA said in a letter to the SEC.

"While Section 352 of the Patriot Act only requires firms to establish written anti-money laundering programs by April 24, 2002, the proposed rules require that firms establish and implement their programs by that date. Thus, we request that the rules make clear that the requirement imposed on firms is to have a written anti-money laundering program in place by April 24, 2002, and not the requirement to have implemented the program," according to Alan Sorcher, vice president and associate general counsel for the SIA.

Although Sorcher added that most SIA firms will likely have new anti-money laundering policies in place for the deadline, he said that the proposed rule, "should allow for possible extensions of the compliance date, where appropriate."