THE central bank has revamped registration rules for pawnshops and foreign exchange dealers as part of efforts against money-laundering, according to a memo issued by Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also ordered these financial institutions to “ensure the soundness and adequacy of their risk management policies and practices in dealing with foreign exchange dealers and remittance and transfer companies.”

Entities that fail to do so will be sanctioned and fined, Ms Fonacier said in the memo.

Under the rules, financial institutions should transact only with registered foreign exchange dealers, money changers, remittance and transfer companies.

They should also assess risks from dirty money and terrorism-financing, the central bank said.

“Inability to comply with relevant customer due diligence measures is a ground for refusing to open the account, commence business relations or perform the transaction and/or terminating the business relationship,” according to the memo.

Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp. was saie to have breached money laundering laws more than 23 million times. The bank’s remittance arm, LitePay, had partnered with Bank of the Philippine Islands, which had been indefinitely suspended after the news.

So far, initial investigation by BPI found that 10 local banks had received money channeled through BPI, according to a report submitted to BSP.

The funds involved were of small value and below the minimum required to be flagged and looked into under the country’s regulations, Ms. Fonacier told reporters on Friday.

The central bank probe might continue up to January because of the holidays, she added.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, covered cash transactions worth more than P500,000 must be flagged and scrutibnized. — Luz Wendy T. Noble