The Office of Foreign Assets and Control (OFAC) administers and enforces the economic sanctions programs and requirements of the United States that are based on U.S. foreign policy, national security, and/or economic goals and primarily target countries and groups of individuals such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers. While these sanctions program requirements are not a required component of an AML Program, all U.S. persons, including financial institutions, such as FCMs and IBs, as well as CPOs, CTAs, RFEDs, MSPs and SDs, must comply with such requirements. OFAC sanctions program regulations can be found at 31 CFR Chapter V.
Some of these programs target geographic regions and governments, are comprehensive in nature, block the government and include broad-based trade restrictions, while others target specific individuals and entities from that region. All U.S. persons must review the relevant sanctions program documents and comply with the particulars therein. They also must screen customer accounts and transactions for matches with individuals and companies that are defined as Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN). If a SDN match is detected, they must block assets, reject transactions, and are generally prohibited from dealing with such persons.
OFAC sanctions programs and regulations are complex and constantly in flux. Compliance officers with questions on how to proceed when a match has been detected should call the OFAC Compliance Hotline at (800) 540-6322.
Additional sources for complying with OFAC regulations include the following:
- OFAC’s “Opening Securities and Futures Accounts from an OFAC Perspective” guidance;
- The American Bankers Association’s primer on OFAC compliance; and
- OFAC forms for reporting blocked or rejected transactions.