The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has unveiled an online one-stop reference service to help mutual funds meet anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
The 'AML source tool for mutual funds' Web site was initially developed for SEC examiners in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), providing links to laws, rules and related guidance.
However, after a similar site for broker dealers proved popular when made available to the public, the SEC is now opening up the mutual funds tool to help firms maintain compliance programmes.
Lori Richards, director, OCIE, SEC, says: "This source tool for mutual funds puts all mutual fund AML requirements in one easy-to-reference location, making it easy for mutual funds to understand their AML compliance obligations in their ongoing efforts to prevent money laundering."
The regulator has also launched a phone line specifically for securities firms to report the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) if they think it might need immediate attention.
Broker dealers and mutual funds became subject to regulations requiring them to file SARs in 2001 after the USA Patriot Act expanded the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act.
In situations involving violations that require immediate attention, firms must immediately phone an appropriate law enforcement authority in addition to filing a SAR.
However SEC says calling the line does not mean firms are not required to file a SAR or notify an appropriate law enforcement authority.
Last month online brokerage E*Trade agreed to pay $1 million to settle SEC claims that two of its units failed to comply with US anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
E*Trade Clearing and E*Trade Securities agreed to settle - without admitting or denying - allegations that they failed to comply with an AML rule that requires broker-dealers to verify the identities of customers and document the procedures for doing so.