The new Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group held its first meeting in Washington today. Michael A. Dawson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy at US Treasury convened the meeting.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary said,*”If we are to be successful, long-term, in the fight against terrorist financing and money laundering, we need the sustained commitment of the financial services industry in all its diverse forms. It is you who are on the front lines, training your personnel to spot suspicious activity, file currency transaction reports, ensure that you know the true identity of your customers, and maintain general vigilance against money laundering.”*

As the Department expanded the scope of its terrorist financing and anti-money laundering rules post September 11, it was considered important to expand the representation in the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group. This “next generation” Advisory Group includes representatives from many of the diverse industries that are now part of Treasury’s comprehensive anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing programs.

Mr. Dawson says the US has faced many challenges as it continues to implement the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. One of the most important of these has been “measuring our effectiveness and sharing that information with the private sector.” He applauds the efforts of the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group to improve information sharing between law enforcement and the private sector.