Countries should ensure that financial institutions include required and accurate originator information, and required beneficiary information, on wire transfers and related messages, and that the information remains with the wire transfer or related message throughout the payment chain.
Countries should ensure that financial institutions monitor wire transfers for the purpose of detecting those which lack required originator and/or beneficiary information, and take appropriate measures.
Countries should ensure that, in the context of processing wire transfers, financial institutions take freezing action and should prohibit conducting transactions with designated persons and entities, as per the obligations set out in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, such as resolution 1267 (1999) and its successor resolutions, and resolution 1373(2001), relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and terrorist financing.
INTERPRETIVE NOTE TO RECOMMENDATION 16 (WIRE TRANSFERS)
1. Recommendation 16 was developed with the objective of preventing terrorists and other criminals from having unfettered access to wire transfers for moving their funds, and for detecting such misuse when it occurs. Specifically, it aims to ensure that basic information on the originator and beneficiary of wire transfers is immediately available:
(a) to appropriate law enforcement and/or prosecutorial authorities to assist them in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting terrorists or other criminals, and tracing their assets;
(b) to financial intelligence units for analysing suspicious or unusual activity, and disseminating it as necessary, and
(c) to ordering, intermediary and beneficiary financial institutions to facilitate the identification and reporting of suspicious transactions, and to implement the requirements to take freezing action and comply with prohibitions from conducting transactions with designated persons and entities, as per the obligations set out in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, such as resolution 1267 (1999) and its successor resolutions, and resolution 1373 (2001) relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and terrorist financing.
2. To accomplish these objectives, countries should have the ability to trace all wire transfers. Due to the potential terrorist financing threat posed by small wire transfers, countries should minimise thresholds taking into account the risk of driving transactions underground and the importance of financial inclusion. It is not the intention of the FATF to impose rigid standards or to mandate a single operating process that would negatively affect the payment system.
3. Recommendation 16 applies to cross-border wire transfers and domestic wire transfers ,
including serial payments, and cover payments.
4. Recommendation 16 is not intended to cover the following types of payments:
(a) Any transfer that flows from a transaction carried out using a credit or debit or prepaid card for the purchase of goods or services, so long as the credit or debit or prepaid card number accompanies all transfers flowing from the transaction. However, when a credit or debit or prepaid card is used as a payment system to effect a person-to-person wire transfer, the transaction is covered by Recommendation 16, and the necessary information should be included in the message.
(b) Financial institution-to-financial institution transfers and settlements, where both the originator person and the beneficiary person are financial institutions acting on their own behalf.
5. Countries may adopt a de minimis threshold for cross-border wire transfers (no higher than USD/EUR 1,000), below which the following requirements should apply:
(a) Countries should ensure that financial institutions include with such transfers: (i) the name of the originator; (ii) the name of the beneficiary; and (iii) an account number for each, or a unique transaction reference number. Such information need not be verified for accuracy, unless there is a suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing, in which case, the financial institution should verify the information pertaining to its customer.
(b) Countries may, nevertheless, require that incoming cross-border wire transfers below the threshold contain required and accurate originator information.
C. CROSS-BORDER QUALIFYING WIRE TRANSFERS
6. Information accompanying all qualifying wire transfers should always contain:
(a) the name of the originator;
(b) the originator account number where such an account is used to process the transaction;
(c) the originator’s address, or national identity number, or customer identification number, or date and place of birth;
(d) the name of the beneficiary; and
(e) the beneficiary account number where such an account is used to process the transaction.
7. In the absence of an account, a unique transaction reference number should be included which permits traceability of the transaction.
8. Where several individual cross-border wire transfers from a single originator are bundled in a batch file for transmission to beneficiaries, they may be exempted from the requirements of paragraph 6 in respect of originator information, provided that they include the originator’s account number or unique transaction reference number (as described in paragraph 7 above), and the batch file contains required and accurate originator information, and full beneficiary information, that is fully traceable within the beneficiary country.
D. DOMESTIC WIRE TRANSFERS
9. Information accompanying domestic wire transfers should also include originator information as indicated for cross-border wire transfers, unless this information can be made available to the beneficiary financial institution and appropriate authorities by other means. In this latter case, the ordering financial institution need only include the account number. The customer identification number refers to a number which uniquely identifies the originator to the originating financial institution and is a different number from the unique transaction reference number referred to in paragraph 7. The customer identification number must refer to a record held by the originating financial institution which contains at least one of the following: the customer address, a national identity number, or a date and place of birth, transaction reference number, provided that this number or identifier will permit the transaction to be traced back to the originator or the beneficiary.
10. The information should be made available by the ordering financial institution within three business days of receiving the request either from the beneficiary financial institution or from appropriate competent authorities. Law enforcement authorities should be able to compel immediate production of such information.
E. RESPONSIBILITIES OF ORDERING, INTERMEDIARY AND BENEFICIARY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Ordering financial institution
11. The ordering financial institution should ensure that qualifying wire transfers contain required and accurate originator information, and required beneficiary information.
12. The ordering financial institution should ensure that cross-border wire transfers below any applicable threshold contain the name of the originator and the name of the beneficiary and an account number for each, or a unique transaction reference number.
13. The ordering financial institution should maintain all originator and beneficiary information collected, in accordance with Recommendation 11.
14. The ordering financial institution should not be allowed to execute the wire transfer if it does not comply with the requirements specified above.
15. For cross-border wire transfers, financial institutions processing an intermediary element of such chains of wire transfers should ensure that all originator and beneficiary information that accompanies a wire transfer is retained with it.
16. Where technical limitations prevent the required originator or beneficiary information accompanying a cross-border wire transfer from remaining with a related domestic wire transfer, a record should be kept, for at least five years, by the receiving intermediary financial institution of all the information received from the ordering financial institution or another intermediary financial institution.
17. An intermediary financial institution should take reasonable measures to identify cross- border wire transfers that lack required originator information or required beneficiary information. Such measures should be consistent with straight-through processing.
18. An intermediary financial institution should have effective risk-based policies and procedures for determining: (i) when to execute, reject, or suspend a wire transfer lacking required originator or required beneficiary information; and (ii) the appropriate follow-up action.
Beneficiary financial institution
19. A beneficiary financial institution should take reasonable measures to identify cross-border wire transfers that lack required originator or required beneficiary information. Such measures may include post-event monitoring or real-time monitoring where feasible.
20. For qualifying wire transfers, a beneficiary financial institution should verify the identity of the beneficiary, if the identity has not been previously verified, and maintain this information in accordance with Recommendation 11.
21. A beneficiary financial institution should have effective risk-based policies and procedures for determining: (i) when to execute, reject, or suspend a wire transfer lacking required originator or required beneficiary information; and (ii) the appropriate follow-up action.
F. MONEY OR VALUE TRANSFER SERVICE OPERATORS
22. Money or value transfer service (MVTS) providers should be required to comply with all of the relevant requirements of Recommendation 16 in the countries in which they operate, directly or through their agents. In the case of a MVTS provider that controls both the ordering and the beneficiary side of a wire transfer, the MVTS provider:
(a) should take into account all the information from both the ordering and beneficiary sides in order to determine whether an STR has to be filed; and
(b) should file an STR in any country affected by the suspicious wire transfer, and make relevant transaction information available to the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Glossary of specific terms used in this Recommendation
Accurate is used to describe information that has been verified for accuracy.
Batch transfer is a transfer comprised of a number of individual wire transfers that are being sent to the same financial institutions, but may/may not be ultimately intended for different persons.
Beneficiary refers to the natural or legal person or legal arrangement who is identified by the originator as the receiver of the requested wire transfer.
Beneficiary Financial Institution refers to the financial institution which receives the wire transfer from the ordering financial institution directly or through an intermediary financial institution and makes the funds available to the beneficiary.
Cover Payment refers to a wire transfer that combines a payment message sent directly by the ordering financial institution to the beneficiary financial institution with the routing of the funding instruction (the cover) from the ordering financial institution to the beneficiary financial institution through one or more intermediary financial institutions.
Cross-border wire transfer refers to any wire transfer where the ordering financial institution and beneficiary financial institution are located in different countries. This term also refers to any chain of wire transfer in which at least one of the financial institutions involved is located in a different country.
Domestic wire transfers refers to any wire transfer where the ordering financial institution and beneficiary financial institution are located in the same country. This term therefore refers to any chain of wire transfer that takes place entirely within the borders of a single country, even though the system used to transfer the payment message may be located in another country. The term also refers to any chain of wire transfer that takes place entirely within the borders of the European Economic Area (EEA).
Intermediary financial institution refers to a financial institution in a serial or cover payment chain that receives and transmits a wire transfer on behalf of the ordering financial institution and the beneficiary financial institution, or another intermediary financial institution.
Ordering financial institution refers to the financial institution which initiates the wire transfer and transfers the funds upon receiving the request for a wire transfer on behalf of the originator.
Originator refers to the account holder who allows the wire transfer from that account, or where there is no account, the natural or legal person that places the order with the ordering financial institution to perform the wire transfer.
Qualifying wire transfers means a cross-border wire transfer above any applicable threshold as described in paragraph 5 of the Interpretive Note to Recommendation 16.
Required is used to describe a situation in which all elements of required information are present. Subparagraphs 6(a), 6(b) and 6(c) set out the required originator information. Subparagraphs 6(d) and 6(e) set out the required beneficiary information.
Serial Payment refers to a direct sequential chain of payment where the wire transfer and accompanying payment message travel together from the ordering financial institution to the beneficiary financial institution directly or through one or more intermediary financial institutions (e.g. correspondent banks).
Straight-through processing refers to payment transactions that are conducted electronically without the need for manual intervention.
Unique transaction reference number refers to a combination of letters, numbers or symbols, determined by the payment service provider, in accordance with the protocols of the payment and settlement system or messaging system used for the wire transfer.
Wire transfer refers to any transaction carried out on behalf of an originator through a financial institution by electronic means with a view to making an amount of funds available to a beneficiary person at a beneficiary financial institution, irrespective of whether the originator and the beneficiary are the same person.