Alert January 10, 2012

FinCEN Issues Report on Impact of 2010 Amendments to FinCEN Regulations that Required Mutual Funds to File CTRs Rather than Form 8300

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a report (the “Report) assessing the impact of amendments (the “Amendments”) to FinCEN’s regulations that required mutual funds to file Currency Transaction Reports (“CTRs”) rather than Form 8300s.  A mutual fund must file a CTR for any transaction involving a transfer of more than $10,000 in currency (coin and paper money) by, through or to the  mutual fund.  A Form 8300 defined currency more broadly including, in addition to coin and paper money, cashier’s checks, bank drafts, travelers’ checks and money orders.  FinCEN stated that the Amendments, by requiring mutual funds to file CTRs, conform mutual funds’ filing requirements to those of other elements of the financial services industry and harmonize the definition of mutual fund in FinCEN’s anti-money laundering program rule with the definitions in other FinCEN rules which cover mutual funds.  The Amendments became effective on May 14, 2010, but mutual funds had until January 10, 2011 to comply with FinCEN’s recordkeeping and travel rule requirements.

The Report said that, in replacing Form 8300 with CTR filing requirements, the Amendments accomplished FinCEN’s objectives of reducing the number of unnecessary filings that mutual funds were required to make and bringing mutual funds “into a greater conformity with other financial institutions that file CTRs.”  Since the Amendments have become effective, FinCEN reported that mutual funds have, in fact, filed no CTRs.  FinCEN notes that this is not unexpected since “mutual funds rarely receive or disburse significant amounts of currency in transactions with their shareholders.”  FinCEN also stressed that mutual funds are still required to file reports on suspicious activity on Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”).