ESAs publish the joint Report on the withdrawal of authorisation for serious breaches of AML/CFT rules

01 June 2022

The European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – ESAs) published a joint Report, which provides a comprehensive analysis on the completeness, adequacy and uniformity of the applicable laws and practices on the withdrawal of license for serious breaches of the rules on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).  

The joint Report advocates for the introduction in all relevant EU sectoral laws of a specific legal ground to revoke licences for serious breaches of AML/CFT rules. The joint Report also calls for the inclusion of assessments by competent authorities of the adequacy of the arrangements and processes to ensure AML/CFT compliance as one condition for granting authorisation or registration. For this purpose, cooperation and information exchange between prudential supervisors and AML/CFT supervisors should be ensured.

The joint Report highlights the importance of the appropriate integration of AML/CFT issues into prudential regulation and supervision, including in the proposal for the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), currently under negotiation. 

Furthermore, the joint Report clarifies the nature of the decision to revoke licenses as a last resort measure, subject to a discretionary and proportionality assessment. It also lays down uniform criteria for the notion of serious breach of AML/CFT rules, highlighting that the identification of a serious breach is subject to a case-by-case assessment by the AML/CFT supervisor. 

Finally, the joint Report provides a preliminary analysis of the interaction between serious breaches of AML/CFT rules and the crisis management and resolution frameworks as well as a first mapping of operational and legislative criticalities.

Next steps

The ESAs stand ready to provide additional specific advice to the EU institutions, as appropriate.  

Legal basis 

The Joint Report fulfils Objective 5 of the Council Action Plan on AML of 2018 requesting the ESAs to:

  • Clarify the degree of discretion of the prudential supervisors and the criteria for the withdrawal of the authorisation once a serious breach of AML/CFT rules has been ascertained, while taking into account the different practices and legal frameworks in Member States;  

  • Ensure a uniform interpretation of the language referring to serious breaches of AML/CFT rules in the Capital Requirements Directive;  
  • Ensure a consistent consideration of the consequences of licence withdrawal, particularly in terms of the need to preserve critical functions in the bank, the involvement of resolution authorities, depositor protection and the possibility to suspend payment of deposits by the deposit guarantee scheme;  
  • Identify measures available to prudential authorities to address prudential concerns stemming from money laundering / terrorist financing risks and breaches of AML/CFT rules. 

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