Bar Groups Comments on FATF Consultative Paper

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Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
The Financial Action Task Force, which for the first time invited comments from interested parties before making new policy, has received some early comments. It appears that many groups have made comments. This article summarizes comments for the American Bar Association (ABA), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and the Japanese Federation of Bar Association ( JFBA). The American Bar Association advised that, to the extent that the FATF Recommendations apply to lawyers, they should be carefully tailored and focused primarily on attorneys who receive and transfer funds on behalf of clients. The ABA comments explain that any evaluation of the proposals to extend FATF Recommendations 10-12 and 14-19 to attorneys must occur in the context of the critical role played by attorneys in the system of justice in the U.S., which preserves and protects civil liberties and individual rights and depends upon lawyers to advise clients regarding the scope, meaning and application of the law to business transactions. The ABA comments underscore that, although attorneys may serve as gatekeepers to the domestic and international monetary system, they also serve as gatekeepers to the system of justice and administration of law for citizens of the U.S. and other countries. The ACTEC agrees that professionals serving for compensation as trustees should be subject to most of the FATF recommendations. However, the ACTEC opposes any special licensure of trustee, because over one million practicing lawyers in every state of the U.S. and many serve as trustees for compensation. The ACTEC opposes strenuously any effort to regulate the from of trusts.