The Autorité des Marchés Financiers is the independent body responsible for safeguarding and monitoring France’s financial markets, and their participants, against money laundering and fraud.
The Financial Security Act (2003) established the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) as the independent regulatory body responsible for supervising France’s financial markets. The creation of the AMF represented a merger of three French financial oversight bodies: the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (COB), the Conseil des Marchés Financiers (CMF), and the Conseil de Discipline de la Gestion Financière (CDGF). Led by current Chairman, Robert Ophèle, the AMF is funded through fees collected from the financial institutions it oversees.
What does the AMF do?
The AMF has three stated objectives, which are:
- To safeguard investments in financial products
- To ensure that investors receive sufficient information about financial products
- To maintain orderly financial markets
In its duty to French financial institutions, the AMF has oversight of all participants and products operating within the country, which includes asset management companies, financial advisors, crowdfunding advisors, and central securities depositaries. To identify and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and other fraudulent criminal activities, the AMF has the power to set rules, conduct investigations, and issue sanctions and fines to companies found to be in breach of compliance obligations. The AMF may also censure individuals within a financial institution, including company directors, employees, and officers, or anyone acting on behalf of a financial entity.
How does the AMF prevent money laundering?
The AMF conducts AML (anti money laundering) activities under Article L. 561-36 of the French Monetary and Financial Code. With this authority, the AMF works to ensure that financial institutions are operating in accordance with legislative policy, and that they are meeting the compliance standards set out by AMF anti money laundering regulations.
In practical terms, the AMF’s anti money laundering efforts involve:
Risk-Based Vigilance: The AMF requires French financial institutions to maintain a suitable level of vigilance in updating their clients’ risk profiles. That obligation means that every financial institution must be able to perform risk classification procedures and implement their own AML policies and control systems using AMF guidelines. The level of vigilance required by the financial institution should reflect the level of risk that each client presents.
Reporting Obligations: Working with a risk-based approach again, the AMF requires financial institutions to report any suspicious behaviour relating to money laundering to the French authorities. More specifically, companies must report to TRAFCIN (Traitement du Renseignement et Action Contre les Circuits Financiers Clandestins), the French Ministry of Finance’s enforcement body that the AMF works with to enforce its money laundering regulations.
Audits and Inspections: To enforce money laundering regulations and assure compliance, the AMF conducts audits and inspections of French financial institutions, focusing on both internal AML procedures and infrastructure, and individuals in charge of AML compliance. Breaches in compliance are reported to the AMF Enforcement Committee.
Coordination with French Authorities: The AMF contributes to wider efforts in combatting money laundering and ensures France’s national AML performance is held to the highest standard, by working in collaboration with associated national bodies. In this capacity, the AMF works with the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel (ACP), while its Secretary General, currently Benoît de Juvigny, sits on France’s Anti Money Laundering Steering Committee, known as the Conseil d’Orientation de la Lutte Contre le Blanchiment de Capitaux (COLB).
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