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Due diligence requirements for goods traders, art agents and art store keepers

The Senate Department for Economics is the competent supervisory authority for

goods traders, art agents and art store keepers; real estate agents; insurance intermediaries; service providers for companies and trust property and trustees; financial companies and bookmakers.
We would also like to point out the points of contact and competent supervisory authorities for the remaining obliged entities. A complete list is provided in § 2 subsection 1 GwG.

Finance sector

Obliged credit institutions are companies that conduct banking transactions in a commercial manner or to an extent that requires a commercial business organisation (§ 1 subsection 1 sentence 1 Banking Act – KWG) and any branch offices or subsidiaries in Germany of such institutes that are based abroad.
Exceptions to this are the companies indicated in § 2 subsection 1 no. 3 to 8 of the Banking Act – KWG.

Competent supervisory authority
The competent supervisory authority is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

Information for credit institutions
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Obliged financial services institutions are companies that perform banking services for others in a commercial manner or to an extent that requires a commercial business organisation and that are not credit institutions (§ 1 subsection 1a sentence 1 Banking Act – KWG) and any German branch offices or subsidiaries of such institutes that are based abroad.
Exceptions to this are the companies indicated in § 2 subsection 6 sentence 1 no. 3 to 10 and 12 and subsection 10 of the Banking Act – KWG.

Competent supervisory authority
The competent supervisory authority is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

Information for financial service providers
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Payment institutions and electronic money institutions are obliged entities according to § 2 subsection 1 no. 3 GwG.

Payment institutions and electronic money institutions are regulated by the Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG). (§ 1 subsection 3 ZAG)

In both cases this also includes branch offices and subsidiaries in Germany of similar institutions based abroad.

Competent supervisory authority
The competent supervisory authority is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

Information for payment institutions and electronic money institutions
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Agents and electronic money agents are obliged entities pursuant to § 2 subsection 1 no. 4 GwG

An agent in the sense of the Payment Services Supervision Act (ZAG) is any legal or natural entity that performs payment services as an independent businessperson or on behalf of a payment institution. The agent’s activities are attributed to the institution (§ 1 subsection 9 ZAG)

An electronic money agent in the sense of the Payment Services Supervision Act (ZAG) is any natural or legal entity that is active in the area of re-exchanging electronic money as an independent businessperson or on behalf of an institution.
(§ 1 subsection 10 ZAG)

Competent supervisory authority
The competent supervisory authority is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

Information for agents and electronic money agents
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Independent businesspersons who distribute or re-exchange electronic money from a credit institution according to § 1 subsection 2 no. 2 of the Payment Services Supervision Act (ZAG) are obliged entities pursuant to § 2 subsection 1 no. 5 GwG .

Competent supervisory authority
The competent supervisory authority according to § 50 no. 1 letter h) GwG is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

Information for agents and electronic money agents
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Companies from the financial sectors that are not credit or financial service institutions, investment companies or investment stock corporations can still be obliged entities in the sense of the Money Laundering Act. With the amendment from late 2019, the GwG now contains its own definition (§ 1 subsection 24 GwG): According to this definition, a financial company is an organisation whose main activity is
  • to buy, keep or sell shareholdings,
  • to acquire financial claims with a financing function against payment,
  • to trade financial instruments in its own name,
  • to be a financial investment broker pursuant to § 34f subsection 1 sentence 1 GewO or a remunerated financial investment consultant pursuant to § 34h subsection 1 sentence 1 GewO, unless the brokering or consultancy activities are related solely to investment products that are distributed or issued by obliged entities according to this law,
  • to consult companies with regard to capital structure, industrial and related issues and with regard to mergers and acquisitions of companies and to offer related services

or

  • to arrange for loans granted between credit institutions (money brokering).
    Please note that this applies for companies from the financial sector only.
    Holding companies that only hold shares of companies outside the credit and financial institution and insurance sector and that are not commercially active beyond managing their shareholdings, are not considered financial companies in the sense of the Money Laundering Act.
    The listed companies are not supervised by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.
    This also includes branch offices and subsidiaries in Germany of such companies based abroad. It does not include institutions, capital management companies or externally managed investment companies.

The competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin
The Senate Department for Economics.

Information for financial companies
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

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Non-financial sector

Insurance companies and branch offices in Germany of such companies who are based abroad are obliged entities if they
1. offer life insurance activities covered by the Directive 2009/138/EC by the European Parliament,
2. offer accident insurance with premium back guarantee, or
3. grant loans in the sense of § 1 subsection 1 sentence 2 no. 2 of the Banking Act, or
4. offer capitalisation products.
Competent supervisory authority:
According to § 50 no. 2 GwG, the respective competent supervisory authority for the insurance industry is also the competent supervisory authority for money laundering.
This is provided for in the Insurance Supervision Act (VAG).
Information for insurance companies
Section 6 of the Insurance Supervision Act (Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz, VAG) contains specific standards for insurance companies.

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§ 2 subsection 1 no. 8 GwG states that insurance intermediaries are obliged entities in the sense of the GwG, if they arrange for the activities, transactions, products or services listed under no. 7 (insurance companies), as well as German branch offices of such insurance intermediaries based abroad.
According to § 59 subsection 1 of the Insurance Contract Act, the term insurance intermediaries covers insurance salespersons and insurance brokers.
The competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin:
The Senate Department for Economics.
Information for insurance intermediaries
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

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Obliged entities pursuant to § 2 subsection 1 no. 9 GwG:
1. Asset management companies pursuant to § 17 subsection 1 of the Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuchs) – KAGB
2. branch offices in Germany of management companies from the EU and foreign AIF management companies,
3. as well as foreign AIF management companies whose reference member state is the Federal Republic of Germany and that are subject to supervision by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority according to § 57 subsection 1 sentence 3 KAGB.
Competent supervisory authority:
The competent supervisory authority is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority
Information for asset management companies
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Lawyers, legal advisors who are members of a bar association, patent attorneys and notaries are obliged entities, if they are involved in planning and executing certain types of transactions for their clients, or if they execute financial or real estate transactions on behalf of their clients and for their account.
The individual transaction types are listed in § 2 subsection 1 no. 10 GwG.
The competent supervisory authorities in the State of Berlin:
Responsibility is divided as follows:
• lawyers and legal advisors who are members of a bar association are supervised by the Berlin Bar Association according to § 50 no. 3 GwG ,
• patent attorneys are supervised by the Chamber of Patent Attorneys according to § 50 no. 4 GwG
• and notaries are supervised by the President of the respective Regional Court according to § 50 no. 5 GwG.
Information for obliged entities pursuant to no. 10
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Obliged entities pursuant to § 2 subsection 1 no. 11 GwG can be legal advisors that are not a member of a bar association and registered individuals according to § 10 of the Legal Services Act (Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetz – RDG). These are natural or legal entities and companies without the status as a legal entity, who are qualified to perform legal services in specified areas due to particular expertise, and who are registered with the competent authority.
They are obliged entities, insofar as they perform activities according to § 2 subsection 1 no. 10 letters a – d GwG, except for the provision of collection services in the sense of § 2 subsection 2 sentence 1 of the Legal Services Act (Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetz, RDG).
Competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin for the cases outlined above:
Competence is regulated by the ordinance relating to the Legal Services Act.
Information for obliged entities pursuant to no. 11
Please refer to the online presence of your competent supervisory authority for information.

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Auditors, chartered accountants, tax advisors, authorised tax agents and income tax assistance organisations according to § 4 no. 11 of the Tax Advisory Act (Steuerberatungsgesetzes – StBerG) or obliged entities pursuant to § 2 subsection 1 no. 12
The competent supervisory authorities in the State of Berlin:
The respective chamber/tax office is the competent authority.
• For auditors and chartered accountants this is the Chamber of Public Accountants as provided for in § 50 no. 6 GwG.
• The competent supervisory authority for tax advisors and authorised tax agents is the Chamber of Tax Advisors as provided for in § 50 no. 7 GwG.
• Income tax assistance organisations are supervised by the authority that is in charge according to § 27 of the Tax Advisory Act (StBerG). By resolution of the Senate on 11 December 2007 (no. S-874/2007) in conjunction with § 31 subsection 2 sentence 1 StBerG, the Tax Office for Corporations I is also the competent supervisory authority for Berlin, according to § 50 no. 7a GwG.
Information for obliged entities pursuant to no. 12
Please refer to the online presence of your competent chamber or tax office for information.

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Service providers for companies and trustees (§ 2 subsection 1 no. 13 GwG)
Service providers for companies and trust property and trustees are obliged entities according to the GwG, if they provide certain services for third parties (such as founding shelf companies or virtual offices, providing business or administration headquarters, etc.).
Please take note of the precise description of provided services in § 2 subsection 1 no. 13 GwG.
Service providers from the professional groups listed under numbers 10 to 12 are obliged entities as indicated here.
• Since 1 January 2020, obliged parties according to § 2 subsection 1 no. 13 must register with the supervisory authority indicating their specific activities, if they did not already require registration, listing, permission or a licence due to other regulations (§ 51 subsection 5b GwG).
Competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin for the cases outlined above:
The Senate Department for Economics.
Information for obliged entities pursuant to no. 13
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

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Real estate agents are individuals who arrange for the conclusion of sales, leasing or rental agreements for real estate, rights equivalent to real property, commercial or residential space in a commercial capacity. (§ 1 subsection 11 GwG)
They are obliged entities pursuant to the Money Laundering Act (§ 2 subsection 1 no. 14 GwG).
The competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin:
The Senate Department for Economics.
Information for real estate agents:
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

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The fourth European Money Laundering Directive provides that organisers and brokers of games of chance must generally be regarded as obliged entities under the Money Laundering Act (§ 2 subsection 1 no. 15).

Games of chance in the sense of the GwG are any games where a player makes a payment in exchange for a chance to win, and where the occurrence of a win or loss depends wholly or predominantly on chance (§ 1 subsection 8 GwG).

The following exceptions apply despite the general obligation provided for in the fourth European Money Laundering Directive, in the context of a risk-based approach for the following types of games and organisers:
  • Operators of slot machines according to § 33 c of the Trade Regulations
  • Organisations that organise pari-mutuel betting according to § 1 of the Race Betting and Lottery Act
  • Lotteries offered and sold beyond the internet that hold a state licence
  • Charity lotteries

The competent supervisory authorities in the State of Berlin:
§ 50 subsection 1 no. 8 GwG states that the authority that grants the gambling licence is generally also the competent supervisory authority for money laundering.

The Senate Department for Internal Matters is generally responsible for supervising the casino.
The Senate Department for Economics is responsible for bookmakers, that hold a licence according to the Race Betting and Lottery Act (§ 2 subsection 1 RennwLottG).

Other betting agents (arrangement of sports betting) are supervised by the State authority for citizen and public order matters – gambling

Information for bookmakers:
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

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  • Goods traders are individuals who sell goods commercially, regardless of on whose behalf or to whose account they are active (§ 1 subsection 9 GwG).
  • Art agents are individuals who commercially arrange for purchasing contracts for works of art, including as auctioneers or gallery operators. (§ 1 subsection 23 sentence 1 GwG).
  • Art store keepers are individuals that commercially store works of art. It is insignificant in this context, on whose behalf or to whose account such activities according to sentences 1 or 2 are performed. (§ 1 subsection 23 sentence 2 GwG).

They are all obliged entities pursuant to the Money Laundering Act (§ 2 subsection 1 no. 16 GwG). Art store keepers are only obliged entities, however, if they store works of art in duty-free areas.

The competent supervisory authority in the State of Berlin:
The Senate Department for Economics.

Information for goods traders:
For detailed information, please refer to our fact sheets; these are available in our download area, along with working aids and forms.

The necessary level of risk prevention with regard to money laundering and terrorism financing varies from company to company. This is why the legal requirements are based on the respective level of risk.
Higher risk management requirements apply where the risk of money laundering is high, and lower requirements apply where risks are lower.
The legislator demands that obliged entities according to the GwG must have risk management in place that comprises two parts: A risk analysis must be performed and based on this analysis, internal safety measures must be taken to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, in line with the organisation’s individual risk level that has been determined.

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