UAE issues new AML/CFT guidance for financial institutions serving cash-intensive businesses

The Central Bank of the UAE has issued new guidance on anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements for licensed financial institutions that provide services to cash-intensive businesses.

Financial institutions should demonstrate compliance with the new requirements within one month from 28 September 2021 when the new guidance came into effect.

Cash-intensive businesses

Businesses with rapid cash flows such as those in the retail, wholesale and trading, travel and transport sectors are defined as cash-intensive businesses.

The central bank is concerned that some aspects of these businesses – including the use of cash couriers, cash deposits, currency exchanges and cross-border movements of cash – may be vulnerable to money laundering or the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations the central bank says.

Central bank guidance

Guidance from the bank says financial institutions providing services to cash-intensive businesses must take a risk-based approach in their AML/CFT programmes by assessing all such businesses to determine the degree of risk they pose.

Financial institutions must perform appropriate customer due diligence that comprises identification of customers and beneficial owners, understanding of the nature of the business and ongoing monitoring of the business relationship.

Appropriate information should also be obtained on sources of cash deposited in customers’ accounts and financial institutions should maintain transaction monitoring systems to identify and report unusual or suspicious activity.

AML/CFT guidance from the Central Bank of the UAE can be found here.


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