A significant and much-needed update to the U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) laws is one of the few remaining legislative efforts that may get across the finish line during this election year. Legislators from both parties recognize that the current AML system is inadequate to meet the evolving challenges presented by terrorist organizations, international drug and human traffickers and domestic criminal enterprises. Disagreement about one key issue, however, appears to be holding up progress on reform legislation: how, when and to whom a company must disclose its beneficial owners. Changes to beneficial ownership rules could have significant impact not only on financial institutions, which currently must collect the information, but also on businesses in all industries and of all sizes, especially those that prefer or find it necessary to transact with a degree of anonymity.
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