Know Your Customer (KYC) norms/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)/Obligation of Authorised Persons (Indian Agents) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA), 2002, as amended by Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2009 - Cross Border Inward Remittance under Money Transfer Service Scheme.
The offence of Money Laundering has been defined in Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) as "whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money laundering". Money Laundering can be called a process by which money or other assets obtained as proceeds of crime are exchanged for "clean money" or other assets with no obvious link to their criminal origins.
2. The objective
The objective of prescribing KYC/AML/CFT guidelines is to prevent the system of cross border inward money transfer into India from all over the world under the MTSS from being used, intentionally or unintentionally, by criminal elements for money laundering or terrorist financing activities. KYC procedures also enable Authorised Persons, who are Indian Agents under MTSS [referred as APs (Indian Agents) hereinafter] to know/understand their customers and their financial dealings better, which in turn help them manage their risks prudently.
3. Definition of Customer
For the purpose of KYC policy, a ‘Customer’ is defined as :
a person who receives occasional/ regular cross border inward remittances under MTSS; one on whose behalf a cross border inward remittance under MTSS is received (i.e., the beneficial owner) [In view of Government of India Notification dated February 12, 2010 - Rule 9, sub-rule (1A) of PML Rules - 'Beneficial Owner' means the natural person who ultimately owns or controls a client and or the person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted, and includes a person who exercises ultimate effective control over a juridical person].
APs (Indian Agents) should keep in mind that the information collected from the customer while making payment of cross border inward remittances is to be treated as confidential and details thereof are not to be divulged for cross selling or any other like purposes. APs (Indian Agents) should, therefore, ensure that information sought from the customer is relevant to the perceived risk, is not intrusive, and is in conformity with the guidelines issued in this regard. Any other information from the customer, wherever necessary, should be sought separately with his/her consent.
4.2 KYC Policy
APs (Indian Agents) should frame their KYC policies incorporating the following four key elements:
Customer Acceptance Policy;
Customer Identification Procedures;
Monitoring of Transactions; and Risk Management.
4.3 Customer Acceptance Policy (CAP)
a) Every AP (Indian Agent) should develop a clear Customer Acceptance Policy laying down explicit criteria for acceptance of customers. The Customer Acceptance Policy must ensure that explicit guidelines are in place on the following aspects of customer relationship in the AP (Indian Agent). No remittance is received in anonymous or fictitious/ benami name(s). [APs (Indian Agents) should not allow any transaction in any anonymous or fictitious name (s) or on behalf of other persons whose identity has not been disclosed or cannot be verified in view of Government of India Notification dated June 16, 2010 Rule 9, sub-rule (1C)].
Parameters of risk perception are clearly defined in terms of the nature of business activity, location of customer and his clients, mode of payments, volume of turnover, social and financial status, etc. to enable categorisation of customers into low, medium and high risk (APs may choose any suitable nomenclature, viz., level I, level II and level III). Customers requiring very high level of monitoring, e.g., Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) may, if considered necessary, be categorised even higher.
Documentation requirements and other information to be collected in respect of different categories of customers depending on perceived risk and keeping in mind the requirements of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA), 2002, as amended by Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2009, Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records of the Nature and Value of Transactions, the Procedure and Manner of Maintaining and Time for Furnishing Information and Verification and Maintenance of Records of the Identity of the Clients of the Banking Companies, Financial Institutions and Intermediaries) Rules, 2005, as amended from time to time, as well as instructions / guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank, from time to time. Not to make payment of any remittance where the AP (Indian Agent) is unable to apply appropriate customer due diligence measures, i.e., AP (Indian Agent) is unable to verify the identity and /or obtain documents required as per the risk categorisation due to non-cooperation of the customer or non reliability of the data/information furnished to the AP (Indian Agent). It is, however, necessary to have suitable built in safeguards to avoid harassment of the customer. In the circumstances when an AP (Indian Agent) believes that it would no longer be satisfied that it knows the true identity of the customer, the AP (Indian Agent) should file an STR with FIU-IND.
Circumstances, in which a customer is permitted to act on behalf of another person/entity, should be clearly spelt out, the beneficial owner should be identified and all reasonable steps should be taken to verify his identity.
b) APs (Indian Agents) should prepare a profile for each new customer, where regular cross-border inward remittances are/ expected to be received, based on risk categorisation. The customer profile may contain information relating to customer’s identity, social / financial status, etc. The nature and extent of due diligence will depend on the risk perceived by the AP (Indian Agent). However, while preparing customer profile, APs (Indian Agents) should take care to seek only such information from the customer, which is relevant to the risk category and is not intrusive. The customer profile is a confidential document and details contained therein should not be divulged for cross selling or any other purposes.
c) For the purpose of risk categorisation, individuals (other than High Net Worth) and entities whose identities and sources of wealth can be easily identified and transactions by whom by and large conform to the known profile, may be categorised as low risk. Customers that are likely to pose a higher than average risk should be categorised as medium or high risk depending on customer's background, nature and location of activity, country of origin, sources of funds and his client profile, etc. APs(Indian Agents) should apply enhanced due diligence measures based on the risk assessment, thereby requiring intensive ‘due diligence’ for higher risk customers, especially those for whom the sources of funds are not clear. Examples of customers requiring enhanced due diligence include (a) nonresident customers; (b) customers from countries that do not or insufficiently apply the FATF standards; (c) high net worth individuals; (d) politically exposed persons (PEPs); (e) non-face to face customers; and (f) those with dubious reputation as per public information available, etc.
d) It is important to bear in mind that the adoption of customer acceptance policy and its implementation should not become too restrictive and must not result in denial of cross border inward remittance facilities to general public.
e) With a view to preventing the system of cross border inward money transfer into India from all over the world under the MTSS from being used, intentionally or unintentionally, by criminal elements for money laundering or terrorist financing activities, whenever there is suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing or when other factors give rise to a belief that the customer does not, in fact, pose a low risk, APs (Indian Agents) should carry out full scale customer due diligence (CDD) before making payment of any remittance.
4.4 Customer Identification Procedure (CIP)
a) The policy approved by the Board of APs (Indian Agents) should clearly spell out the Customer Identification Procedure while making payment to a beneficiary or when the AP has a doubt about the authenticity/veracity or the adequacy of the previously obtained customer identification data. Customer identification means identifying the customer and verifying his/her identity by using reliable, independent source documents, data or information. APs (Indian Agents) need to obtain sufficient information necessary to establish, to their satisfaction, the identity of each new customer, whether regular or occasional. Being satisfied means that the AP must be able to satisfy the competent authorities that due diligence was observed based on the risk profile of the customer in compliance with the extant guidelines in place. Such risk based approach is considered necessary to avoid disproportionate cost to APs (Indian Agents) and a burdensome regime for the customers. The APs (Indian Agents) should obtain sufficient identification data to verify the identity of the customer and his address/location. For customers that are natural persons, the APs (Indian Agents) should obtain sufficient identification document /s to verify the identity of the customer and his address/location. For customers that are legal persons, the AP (Indian Agent) should
(i) verify the legal status of the legal person through proper and relevant documents;
(ii) verify that any person purporting to act on behalf of the legal person is so authorised and identify and verify the identity of that person; and
(iii) understand the ownership and control structure of the customer and determine who are the natural persons who ultimately control the legal person. Customer identification requirements in respect of a few typical cases, especially, legal persons requiring an extra element of caution are given in paragraph 4.5 below for guidance of APs (Indian Agents). APs (Indian Agents) may, however, frame their own internal guidelines based on their experience of dealing with such persons, their normal prudence and the legal requirements as per established practices. If the AP (Indian Agent) decides to undertake such transactions in terms of the Customer Acceptance Policy, the AP (Indian Agent) should take reasonable measures to identify the beneficial owner(s) and verify his/her/their identity in a manner so that it is satisfied that it knows who the beneficial owner(s) is/are [in view of Government of India Notification dated June 16, 2010 - Rule 9 sub-rule (1A) of PML Rules].
Note: Rule 9(1A) of Prevention of Money Laundering Rules, 2005 requires that every AP (Indian Agent) under MTSS shall identify the beneficial owner and take all reasonable steps to verify his identity. The term "beneficial owner" has been defined as the natural person who ultimately owns or controls a client and/or the person on whose behalf the transaction is being conducted, and includes a person who exercises ultimate effective control over a juridical person. Government of India has since examined the issue and has specified the procedure for determination of Beneficial Ownership. The procedure as advised by the Government of India is as under:
A. Where the client is a person other than an individual or trust, the AP (Indian Agents) shall identify the beneficial owners of the client and take reasonable measures to verify the identity of such persons, through the following information: The identity of the natural person, who, whether acting alone or together, or through one or more juridical person, exercises control through ownership or who ultimately has a controlling ownership interest.
Explanation: Controlling ownership interest means ownership of/entitlement to more than 25 percent of shares or capital or profits of the juridical person, where the juridical person is a company; ownership of/entitlement to more than 15% of the capital or profits of the juridical person where the juridical person is a partnership; or, ownership of/entitlement to more than 15% of the property or capital or profits of the juridical person where the juridical person is an unincorporated association or body of individuals.
In cases where there exists doubt under (i) as to whether the person with the controlling ownership interest is the beneficial owner or where no natural person exerts control through ownership interests, the identity of the natural person exercising control over the juridical person through other means. Explanation: Control through other means can be exercised through voting rights, agreement, arrangements, etc. Where no natural person is identified under (i) or (ii) above, the identity of the relevant natural person who holds the position of senior managing official.
B. Where the client is a trust, the AP (Indian Agent) shall identify the beneficial owners of the client and take reasonable measures to verify the identity of such persons, through the identity of the settler of the trust, the trustee, the protector, the beneficiaries with 15% or more interest in the trust and any other natural person exercising ultimate effective control over the trust through a chain of control or ownership.
C. Where the client or the owner of the controlling interest is a company listed on a stock exchange, or is a majority-owned subsidiary of such a company, it is not necessary to identify and verify the identity of any shareholder or beneficial owner of such companies. b) Some close relatives, e.g., wife, son, daughter and parents, etc., who live with their husband, father / mother and son / daughter, as the case may be, may find it difficult to undertake transactions with APs (Indian Agents) as the utility bills required for address verification are not in their name. It is clarified, that in such cases, APs (Indian Agents) can obtain an identity document and a utility bill of the relative with whom the prospective customer is living along with a declaration from the relative that the said person (prospective customer) wanting to undertake a transaction is a relative and is staying with him/her. APs (Indian Agents) can use any supplementary evidence such as a letter received through post for further verification of the address. While issuing operational instructions to the branches on the subject, APs (Indian Agents) should keep in mind the spirit of instructions issued by the Reserve Bank and avoid undue hardships to individuals who are, otherwise, classified as low risk customers. c) APs (Indian Agents) should introduce a system of periodical updation of customer identification data, if there is a continuing relationship. d) An indicative list of the type of documents / information that may be relied upon for customer identification is given in SECTION-II. It is clarified that permanent correct address, as referred to in SECTION-II means the address at which a person usually resides and can be taken as the address as mentioned in a utility bill or any other document accepted by the AP for verification of the address of the customer. When there are suspicions of money laundering or financing of the activities relating to terrorism or where there are doubts about the adequacy or veracity of previously obtained customer identification data, APs (Indian Agents) should review the due diligence measures including verifying again the identity of the client and obtaining information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship, as the case may be. [In view of Government of India Notification dated June 16, 2010- Rule 9 sub-rule (1D) of PML Rules]. e) Payment to Beneficiaries i) For payment to beneficiaries, the identification documents, as mentioned at SECTION-II, should be verified and a copy retained. The copy of identification documents obtained should contain current and legible photograph of beneficiaries. This shall continue for a period of next six months from the date of this circular, subject to submission of a copy of the identifications documents during every payment. Further, in the event of a beneficiary being discovered to have received funds on the basis of a photo ID which did not sport his/ her photograph, action would also be initiated against the Agent/ Sub Agent. Thereafter, in addition to this, the identification requirements for cash payment to beneficiary shall also include biometric identification of the beneficiary. This stipulation will ultimately be linked to UID when it is fully implemented. ii) A cap of US $ 2500 has been placed on individual remittances under the scheme. Amounts up to Rs.50,000 may be paid in cash. Any amount exceeding this limit shall be paid only by means of cheque/D.D. /P.O., etc., or credited directly to the beneficiary's bank account. However, in exceptional circumstances, where the beneficiary is a foreign tourist, higher amounts may be disbursed in cash. Only 30 remittances can be received by a single individual during a calendar year.
4.5 Customer Identification Requirements – Transactions by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) - Indicative Guidelines Politically exposed persons are individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions in a foreign country, e.g., Heads of States or of Governments, senior politicians, senior government/judicial/military officers, senior executives of state-owned corporations, important political party officials, etc. APs (Indian Agents) should gather sufficient information on any person/customer of this category intending to undertake a transaction and check all the information available on the person in the public domain. APs (Indian Agents) should verify the identity of the person and seek information about the source /s of wealth and source /s of funds before accepting the PEP as a customer. The decision to undertake a transaction with a PEP should be taken at a senior level which should be clearly spelt out in the Customer Acceptance Policy. APs (Indian Agents) should also subject such transactions to enhanced monitoring on an ongoing basis. The above norms may also be applied to transactions with the family members or close relatives of PEPs. The above norms may also be applied to customers who become PEPs subsequent to establishment of the business relationship. These instructions are also applicable to transactions where a PEP is the ultimate beneficial owner. Further, in regard to transactions in case of PEPs, it is reiterated that APs (Indian Agents) should have appropriate ongoing risk management procedures for identifying and applying enhanced CDD to PEPs, customers who are family members or close relatives of PEPs and transactions of which a PEP is the ultimate beneficial owner.
4.6 Monitoring of Transactions
Ongoing monitoring is an essential element of effective KYC procedures. APs (Indian Agents) can effectively control and reduce their risk only if they have an understanding of the normal and reasonable receipt of remittances of the beneficiary so that they have the means of identifying receipts that fall outside the regular pattern of activity. However, the extent of monitoring will depend on the risk sensitivity of the remittance. APs (Indian Agents) should pay special attention to all complex, unusually large receipts and all unusual patterns which have no apparent economic or visible lawful purpose. APs (Indian Agents) may prescribe threshold limits for a particular category of receipts and pay particular attention to the receipts which exceed these limits. High-risk receipts have to be subjected to intense monitoring. Every AP (Indian Agent) should set key indicators for such receipts, taking note of the background of the customer, such as the country of origin, sources of funds, the type of transactions involved and other risk factors. APs (Indian Agents) should put in place a system of periodical review of risk categorization of customers and the need for applying enhanced due diligence measures. Such review of risk categorisation of customers should be carried out periodically. APs (Indian Agents) should exercise ongoing due diligence with respect to the business relationship with every client and closely examine the transactions in order to ensure that they are consistent with their knowledge of the client, his business and risk profile and where necessary, the source of funds [In view of Government of India Notification dated June 16, 2010 -Rule 9, sub-rule (1B)] APs (Indian Agents) should examine the background and purpose of transactions with persons (including legal persons and other financial institutions) from jurisdictions included in the FATF Statements and countries that do not or insufficiently apply the FATF Recommendations. Further, if the transactions have no apparent economic or visible lawful purpose, the background and purpose of such transactions should, as far as possible, be examined and written findings together with all the documents should be retained and made available to the Reserve Bank/ other relevant authorities, on request.
4.7 Attempted transactions
Where the AP (Indian Agent) is unable to apply appropriate KYC measures due to non-furnishing of information and /or non-cooperation by the customer, the AP should not undertake the transaction. Under these circumstances, APs should make a suspicious transactions report to FIU-IND in relation to the customer, even if the transaction is not put through.
4.8 Risk Management
a) The Board of Directors of the AP (Indian Agent) should ensure that an effective KYC programme is put in place by establishing appropriate procedures and ensuring effective implementation. It should cover proper management oversight, systems and controls, segregation of duties, training and other related matters. Responsibility should be explicitly allocated within the AP (Indian Agent) for ensuring that the APs’ policies and procedures are implemented effectively. APs (Indian Agents) should, in consultation with their Boards, devise procedures for creating risk profiles of their existing and new customers and apply various anti money laundering measures keeping in view the risks involved in a transaction.
b) APs’ (Indian Agents) internal audit and compliance functions have an important role in evaluating and ensuring adherence to the KYC policies and procedures. As a general rule, the compliance function should provide an independent evaluation of the AP’s (Indian Agent’s) own policies and procedures, including legal and regulatory requirements. APs (Indian Agents) should ensure that their audit machinery is staffed adequately with individuals who are well-versed in such policies and procedures. The concurrent auditors should check all cross border inward remittance transactions under MTSS to verify that they have been undertaken in compliance with the anti-money laundering guidelines and have been reported whenever required to the concerned authorities. Compliance on the lapses, if any, recorded by the concurrent auditors should be put up to the Board. A certificate from the Statutory Auditors on the compliance with KYC / AML / CFT guidelines should be obtained at the time of preparation of the Annual Report and kept on record.