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MVTS play an important role in the international financial system and in supporting financial inclusion. In December 2015, the United Nations estimated that developing countries received over USD 400 billion in remittances from migrants living abroad in 2014. However, like other financial institutions, MVTS providers are also vulnerable to the abuse for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The FATF has updated its 2009 Guidance on a Risk-Based Approach for Money Services Businesses to bring it into line with the 2012 FATF Recommendations. This non-binding Guidance is intended to assist countries and their competent authorities, as well as the practitioners in the MTVS sector and in the banking sector that have or are considering MVTS providers as customers, to apply the risk-based approach associated to MVTS. The risk-based approach, the cornerstone of the FATF Standards, requires that measures to combat ML/TF are commensurate with the risks. Such measures should not necessarily result into the categorisation of all MVTS providers as inherently high-risk. The overall risks and threats are influenced by the extent and quality of regulatory and supervisory framework as well as the implementation of risk-based controls and mitigating measures by each MVTS provider.

While this Guidance is applicable to the entire MTVS sector (both banking and non-banking institutions offering MVTS), it is primarily intended for non-banking MVTS providers. This Guidance should be read in conjunction with other relevant Guidance, in particular FATF Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach: The Banking Sector.