Anti-Money Laundering Officer (AML Officer)

Anti-Money Laundering Officer (AML Officer)

Interpretation and Application Guidance pursuant to section 51 (8) of the GwG

3. Internal safeguards, section 6 of the GWG

3.2 The appointment of an anti-money laundering officer and a deputy, section 7 of the GwG

Tasks of the anti-money laundering officer

The tasks to be performed by the AML officer include, in particular (cf. the ruling of Frankfurt am Main Higher Regional Court of 10 April 2018, ref. no.: 2 Ss-OWi 1059/17):

– the creation and development of a uniform undertaking-specific risk assessment or a coordinated series of undertaking-specific risk assessments (section 5 of the GwG; see chapter 2.3)

– the development and updating of internal principles and procedures for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, in particular work and organisational instructions and appropriate business- and customer-related protection systems The AML officer must be involved in the preparation of other internal organisational and work instructions for the obliged entity and their ongoing development, insofar as these are relevant in relation to the fulfilment of regulations on the prevention of money laundering or terrorist financing.

– establishment of clear reporting lines

– implementation of ongoing monitoring in relation to compliance with the above-mentioned regulations

The AML officer must ensure the appropriateness and effectiveness of the organisational and work instructions established and of the business and customer-related internal protection systems of the undertaking (cf. section 6 of the GwG) by means of risk-based monitoring activities, within the scope of a structured approach. In principle, all key areas of the obliged entity’s operations must be included in this monitoring, including the risks for the individual business units. The AML officer will implement this monitoring by means of his own risk-based audit activities or else through third-party audit activities. Monitoring activities relate to transactions and business relationships which, on the basis of the obliged entity’s expertise, may entail money laundering or terrorist financing risks.

These monitoring activities are to be implemented independently of the retrospective audit obligations of the internal auditors. Unlike the audits performed by the internal auditors, where necessary the AML officer will perform his monitoring activities in connection with the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing during the course of a process, or at least promptly. For the performance of his duties, the AML officer is moreover entitled to take samples without any restrictions.

The AML officer must investigate (section 15 (6) no. 1 of the GwG) transactions which are particularly complex or unusually large by comparison with similar transactions, which follow an unusual pattern of transactions or which are implemented without any obvious economic or legal purpose (section 15 (3) no. 3 of the GwG; see chapter 7.4.).

– Handling of suspected cases

The AML officer must handle suspected cases, review whether the preconditions for a report under section 43 of the GwG are fulfilled and, where applicable, forward suspicious transaction reports under section 43 of the GwG to the competent FIU. In this regard, he must also decide on whether to terminate the business relationship.

– Notification of the management and the supervisory body

Insofar as shortcomings are identified in terms of the principles and procedures for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, the AML officer must determine the measures which are required in order to eliminate shortcomings relating to existing internal protection systems and notify the competent member of the management of this.

Insofar as the competent member of the management deviates from the proposals put forward by the AML officer, this must be documented.

The AML officer must provide the competent member of the management with a regular report, at least once a year, on his activities, in particular on the undertaking’s risk situation and on the measures implemented and envisaged for fulfilment of anti-money laundering obligations. He may do so within the scope of the risk assessment which is required pursuant to section 4 (3) sentence 2 of the GwG and which has been prepared accordingly. Further ad hoc reports must be produced where required for a specific reason.

The competent member of the management must also forward these reports to the chairman of the supervisory body included within the scope of the undertaking’s management (e.g. in case of a stock corporation, its supervisory board), where applicable. Changes which are made to key assessments or recommendations of the AML officer on the instruction of the competent member of the management must be separately documented in the respective report. The chairman of the supervisory body must also be notified of these changes.

 Instruction of relevant employees regarding the obligations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and the preparation of a training concept

This includes support for the operational departments providing this instruction or else instruction provided by the AML officer and, where applicable, relevant training (internal or external), in particular in relation to changes in the law, changes in BaFin’s administrative practice or other changes in supervisory requirements and the resulting rules of conduct for employees.

– The AML officer is the contact for BaFin, the prosecuting authorities and the FIU

– The AML officer may make use of other departments of the undertaking for the fulfilment of his tasks.

For the AML officer’s effective fulfilment of the above tasks, the undertaking must

– have sufficiently clear reporting lines,

– the respective competences must have been prescribed in its internal principles and procedures and

– there must be no avoidable duplications of powers.


Insofar as the function of the AML officer pursuant to section 6 (7) of the GwG has been outsourced (see chapter 3.10. for details), the undertaking must have a contact for any issues associated with the outsourced function of the AML officer and it must be ensured that the competent member of the management can directly obtain information from this service provider.

The performance of tasks by a foreign parent company or head office likewise constitutes outsourcing.