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How To Buy an Existing Canadian FINTRAC MSB

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Existing Canadian FINTRAC MSB

Understanding FINTRAC MSB Registration Requirements

Existing Canadian FINTRAC MSB

Money Services Businesses (MSBs) are required to register with FINTRAC to ensure that it is aware of their activities, operations, and structures in Canada. The registration information allows FINTRAC to assess the eligibility of owners, directors, and senior officers to operate an MSB in Canada. When an MSB does not register, FINTRAC is not able to apply appropriate measures and to effectively ensure compliance.

Steps to Acquire an Existing FINTRAC MSB

Acquiring an existing FINTRAC Money Services Business (MSB) involves several critical steps to ensure compliance and smooth transition of ownership. Substance Law can assist you throughout this complex process, ensuring all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

Due Diligence and Assessment

Before proceeding with the acquisition, conduct thorough due diligence to assess the MSB’s compliance status, financial health, and operational structure. This includes:

  • Reviewing the MSB’s registration status with FINTRAC.
  • Evaluating compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
  • Assessing financial statements and operational records.

Transfer of Ownership Process

The transfer of ownership must be meticulously planned and executed. Key steps include:

  1. Drafting and signing a purchase agreement.
  2. Notifying FINTRAC of the impending ownership change.
  3. Ensuring all regulatory filings are updated to reflect the new ownership.
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Notification to FINTRAC

Once the ownership transfer is complete, it is crucial to notify FINTRAC to update the MSB’s registration details. This step ensures that FINTRAC is aware of the new ownership and can continue to monitor the MSB’s activities effectively.

For more detailed guidance on each step, including setting up a holding company in Canada, Substance Law offers expert legal services to navigate the complexities of acquiring an MSB.

Legal and Compliance Considerations

Regulatory Compliance

Acquiring an existing FINTRAC MSB involves navigating a complex regulatory landscape. Ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations is paramount to avoid legal repercussions. This includes adhering to client identification and other know your client requirements, reporting requirements, and record-keeping requirements. A robust compliance program is essential, encompassing policies, procedures, processes, and controls to mitigate risks.

Legal Documentation

Proper legal documentation is crucial during the acquisition process. This includes drafting and reviewing contracts, transfer agreements, and other pertinent legal documents. Engaging a lawyer can provide valuable insights into various legal aspects, including provincial and municipal laws, AGCO, money services, NFTs, taxes, and regulatory agencies.

Risk Management

Effective risk management strategies are vital to ensure the smooth transition and operation of the acquired MSB. This involves assessing potential compliance-related risks or concerns and implementing measures to address them. Substance Law can assist in identifying and mitigating these risks, ensuring that your business remains compliant with all regulatory requirements.

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Operational Integration Post-Acquisition

Successfully integrating an acquired FINTRAC MSB into your existing operations is crucial for maintaining compliance and ensuring smooth business continuity. Substance Law can assist you in navigating this complex process by providing expert guidance and support.


Acquiring an existing Canadian FINTRAC MSB is a strategic move that requires careful planning and adherence to regulatory requirements. By ensuring that the MSB is properly registered with FINTRAC, you not only comply with Canadian laws but also position your business for success in a highly regulated environment. The registration process, while straightforward, is crucial for maintaining the integrity and transparency of financial operations. As you navigate through the acquisition, keep in mind the importance of compliance to safeguard your business and contribute to the overall security of Canada’s financial system.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Money Services Business (MSB) and why must it register with FINTRAC?

A Money Services Business (MSB) is a business that offers services such as currency exchange, money transfers, or cashing checks. MSBs must register with FINTRAC to ensure regulatory compliance and enable FINTRAC to monitor their activities, operations, and structures in Canada.

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What are the steps to register an MSB with FINTRAC?

To register an MSB with FINTRAC, follow these steps: 1. Complete the pre-registration form online. 2. Sign in to the MSB Registration System using your user ID and password. 3. Follow the instructions provided by the FINTRAC compliance officer to complete your registration.

What happens if an MSB does not register with FINTRAC?

If an MSB does not register with FINTRAC, it will not be able to legally operate in Canada. Additionally, FINTRAC will not be able to apply appropriate measures to ensure compliance, which can lead to legal consequences and potential penalties for the business.

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