South Carolina Introduces Money Services Division to Govern Money Transmitters
South Carolina Office of the Attorney General has just announced yesterday a new division to govern Money Service Businesses and Currency Exchange Businesses. The Attorney General will be the commissioner of the Money Services Division and the law requiring licensing will come into effect May 25, 2018. The primary focus is for licensing under the South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act (S.C. Code Ann. § 35-11-100 et seq.) to be accepted through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS). Current Money Transmitters or currency exchange services operating in the state of South Carolina have until June 29, 2018 to file an application with the new Money Services Division through the NMLS. The Division started accepting applications as of yesterday, May 14, 2018.
“COLUMBIA, S.C.– May 14, 2018 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has announced the creation of the Money Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The recently enacted South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act names the Attorney General as Commissioner over money transmitters and currency exchange businesses in this state.
Starting today, [Monday, May 14,] the Money Services Division will begin accepting applications for licenses to conduct money transmission and currency exchange services in South Carolina. Applications will be required to be made using the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System.
“The licensing and review process will protect the interests of South Carolinians by assessing the soundness of the overall financial condition of money services businesses and ensuring that the businesses have procedures in place to properly monitor transactions to deter money laundering or financial crimes from occurring,” Attorney General Wilson said.
The law also provides new tools for prosecutors and law enforcement to combat financial crimes, and the finances of illegal criminal organizations, by creating a general crime of money laundering applicable to all unlawful activity, as well as granting the State Grand Jury jurisdiction to investigate violations.
The South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act was signed by Governor Nikki Haley on June 9, 2016. The act provides that it will take effect upon the publication of final regulations in the State Register. The regulations are to be published in the State Register on May 25, 2018, at which time the law will go into effect.
The Nationwide Multistate Licensing System is a secure web-based system that allows companies to apply for, update and renew their licenses in one or more states conveniently and safely online. Consumers will also be able to use the system to determine if a money service business they are considering using is licensed in South Carolina.
For more information on the requirements for licensing, visit the Attorney General’s Office website, or contact the Money Services Division at (803)734-1221.”
For Current Money Transmitters and Currency Exchange Businesses
A letter from the Money Services Division of South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to Money Transmitters/Money Services Businesses Currently Operating in the State of South Carolina, in regards to licensing through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System:
DATE: May 14, 2018
The South Carolina Attorney General, as Commissioner over money transmitters and currency exchange businesses in South Carolina, would like to announce the creation of the Money Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office (the “Division”), which will oversee the licensing requirements of the Act. It is anticipated that the law, which requires licensing, will become effective on May 25, 2018.
The Commissioner would like to inform all persons required to be licensed under the South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 35-11-100 et seq. (the “Act”), that the Division will be accepting applications for licensing beginning on May 14, 2018. The Division will be accepting applications exclusively through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (the “NMLS”). More information regarding the NMLS can be found at the NMLS Resource Center webpage.
Any person conducting money transmission or currency exchange services in the State of South Carolina as of May 25, 2018, must file an application with the Division no later than the close of business on June 29, 2018. If an application is received by that date, the person may continue to conduct business as usual in this state during the licensing review period. If an application is not filed by this deadline, the person must immediately suspend the activities in this state that would require licensing, and may not begin operating again until a license has been issued. Should an applicant believe that it cannot meet the June 29 deadline, it may notify the Division beforehand of any extenuating circumstances, and the Division may, at its discretion, grant an extension.
For all persons filing an application, the 120 day review period prior to approval shall not commence to run until the later of May 25, 2018, or the date the application is deemed to be filed and complete.
1. All persons seeking a license may begin filing on May 14, 2018, through the NMLS;
2. Those persons already operating in South Carolina on May 25, 2018, who file an application by June 29, may continue to conduct business in this state while the application is being reviewed; and
3. The 120 day review period for applications shall not begin to run until the later of May 25, 2018, or the date the filed application is deemed to be complete.
For more information about the Act, the NMLS, or for updates from the Commissioner, please see the Division’s website at: http://www.scag.gov/civil/sc-anti-money-laundering-act
To contact the Division, you may call (803)734-1221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Money Services Division will participate in an NMLS Training Webinar conducted by the State Regulatory Registry LLC on May 22, 2018, at 2:00 pm (EDT). This training is intended to help South Carolina licensees begin the licensing process in NMLS. The training will include an overview of the resources available, licensing requirements checklists that should be reviewed, and a demonstration of tasks that must be completed in NMLS. Please use this link to register for the Live Demonstration and Q&A session. There is no fee to participate. This session will be recorded so you can watch it at a later date if you are not able to attend on May 22.
Licensees who are not current users of NMLS must complete a pre-requisite course before attending the webinar. Click Here for instructions on how to register for the CSBS Learning Management System (LMS) and to access the pre-requisite course.
Felix Shipkevich is a principal of Shipkevich PLLC. His practice focuses on providing counsel to FinTech and financial services firms, including financial technology, payments and emerging digital currency space. He has spoken at national panels in the money transmitter space and payments industry. Mr. Shipkevich’s payments practice has brought him into contact with money transmitter registration requirements in all fifty U.S. States.
To read his full profile, click here.