Risk Update

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) — SRA Increasing Focus on Compliance

SRA puts firms on notice for money laundering compliance checks” —

  • “We will be carrying out rigorous checks on law firms to make sure they are meeting their anti-money laundering obligations.”

  • “We will shortly be writing to an initial sample of 400 firms asking them to demonstrate compliance with the Government’s 2017 Money Laundering Regulations1. There are around 7,000 SRA-regulated law firms who fall under the scope of these Regulations.”

  • “We want to make sure that firms have a money laundering risk assessment in place and are implementing it. A risk assessment is required by legislation and should be the backbone of a firm’s anti-money laundering approach. If firms are not complying, they will go into the regulator’s enforcement processes.”

  • “Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: ‘Money laundering is far from being a victimless crime and must be taken seriously. Solicitors, as enablers of moving funds around, can willingly or unwittingly be part of the problem. So we expect firms to be vigilant and they, in turn, can expect us to be robust in our enforcement action where solicitors firms are involved in money laundering or are not complying with the relevant legislation.‘”

And for more from Paul Philip: “Tackling money laundering: making sure firms are doing their job” —

  • “The reasons why tackling money laundering matters so much clearly hit home for everyone in the room. Beyond terrorism, money laundering also supports serious crimes ranging from people trafficking to drug smuggling. We all need to understand that the type of work law firms do and the credibility of solicitors makes them an attractive target for terrorists and criminals who want to process their ‘dirty money.’”

  • “If we don’t successfully address the problem, the social, economic and security consequences can be devastating. Doing all we can is also essential if we are to continue to maintain trust and confidence in the legal profession. Trust that is vital to our country’s continued success as a leading international centre for legal services.”

  • “We understand that the overwhelming majority of solicitors want to do the right thing. We have produced a package of support for solicitors to highlight good practice and understand what is needed. The onus is on firms to do what they are being asked to do. Many firms are, but those who are not should be on notice to get their house in order.”