FATF Grey List and Blacklist: What You Need to Know

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plays a vital part in the complex realm of global finance by preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism. The FATF, acting as a global watchdog, uses several tools to fight financial crimes, but the FATF grey list and blacklist are particularly important ones. Their goal is not just to punish but also to motivate nations to improve their legal systems. Since inclusion on these lists may have significant political and economic ramifications, it is imperative that enterprises and governments alike comprehend the repercussions of their participation.
This blog begins with an overview of the FATF’s role in preventing financial crimes before delving into the main components of the grey list and blacklist.

The Role of FATF in Combating Financial Crimes

The most significant international organization tasked with preventing money laundering and the funding of terrorism is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF, which was founded by the G7 in 1989, has led the charge in the fight against financial crimes that jeopardize the stability of the world economy.

Objectives of FATF

Establishing global guidelines to stop illicit financial activity and the harm it does to society is FATF’s main goal. The purpose of these guidelines, sometimes referred to as the FATF Recommendations, is to guarantee that every nation incorporates efficient policies into its own national frameworks. More than 200 governments throughout the globe have pledged to implement these proposals, demonstrating their universal support and relevance in preserving the financial system.

How the FATF List Works

The FATF keeps surveillance on nations to make sure they adhere to its guidelines completely and successfully. If they fail to do so, they might end up on the Black List or the Grey List. The countries on the Grey List are subject to increased scrutiny and have promised to address any strategic shortcomings found within predetermined deadlines. The nations on the Black List, also known as “high-risk jurisdictions subject to a call for action,” have major strategic shortcomings in their counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) and anti-money laundering (AML) frameworks. These lists have a significant impact on global financial ties and the economy.

FATF’s Impact on Global Economy

A nation’s economy may suffer greatly if it is placed on the FATF Grey or Black List. It can hinder international investment, make obtaining financing more difficult, and limit cross-border transactions. A nation’s international status may also be weakened by the harm to its reputation that results from listing. According to studies, being on the Grey List can result in a sizable drop in investor capital and foreign direct investment, which can have a substantial effect on the stability and expansion of an economy.

Differences Between the Grey List and Blacklist

Criteria for Inclusion

Jurisdictions working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and proliferation financing frameworks are placed on the FATF Grey List. These nations are closely monitored and committed to resolving identified issues promptly. In contrast, countries on the Blacklist, or High-Risk Jurisdictions under a Call for Action, have significant strategic weaknesses and pose a substantial threat to the global financial system. These countries face international countermeasures and are advised to implement enhanced due diligence procedures.

Levels of Monitoring and Due Diligence Required

Countries on the Grey List, such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Bulgaria, are under more scrutiny indicates active working according to FATF to improve their systems. In contrast, Blacklisted nations like Iran and North Korea face intense international pressure and strict regulations, including increased due diligence and economic penalties, to mitigate the risks they pose.

How Businesses are Affected by FATF Listings

Businesses globally face significant challenges when their country is listed on the FATF Grey List or Blacklist. These listings not only affect the country’s economy but also impact individual businesses in various ways, particularly in terms of compliance requirements and risk mitigation.

Compliance Requirements for Blacklisted Countries

Corporations in prohibited nations must follow strict regulations. The FATF urges member governments to implement increased due diligence to protect the global financial system from money laundering, terrorism financing, and nuclear proliferation. In severe cases, countermeasures may include stricter transaction surveillance or complete bans on certain financial dealings, raising operating costs and complicating cross-border transactions.

Risk Mitigation for Greylisted Countries

For businesses in greylisted countries, the FATF does not mandate enhanced due diligence but encourages members to take the listing into account in their risk analyses. This often leads to a risk-based approach where businesses may face heightened scrutiny from partners and financial institutions wary of the increased monitoring status. Companies must continuously update their customer due diligence and enhanced due diligence processes, screening customers against FATF listings to avoid penalties and preserve their reputations.


Navigating the implications of FATF listings requires vigilance and a proactive approach to compliance and risk mitigation, especially for businesses operating within or alongside these jurisdictions. For businesses aiming to navigate these challenging waters and seeking to bolster their financial crime prevention measures, especially in the DPMS sector, might be problematic. This is where DPMS Global can aid. Contact us for more information and assistance.