Firms put on notice for money laundering compliance checks
The SRA have announced that they plan to start carrying out rigorous checks on law firms to make sure they are meeting their anti-money laundering obligations.
The SRA plan to write to an initial sample of 400 firms requiring them to demonstrate compliance with the Government’s 2017 Money Laundering Regulations. Currently there are around 7,000 SRA-regulated law firms who fall under the scope of these Regulations.
The SRA have stated that they wish to ensure firms not only have a money laundering risk assessment in place but are also are implementing it. Legislation requires that firms have a risk assessment which needs to be the backbone of its anti-money laundering approach. Firms that do not comply will go into the regulator’s enforcement processes.
Apparently each case will be judged on its facts, but if there are serious issues or a lack of willing to resolve issues promptly, then disciplinary action will be taken. Depending upon the results of the initial exercise, the SRA may make further compliance checks if it is found that there are sector-wide issues.
The SRA have said that they will publish the results of this review later this year and have also produced a package of support to make sure firms are complying with their obligations.
Details of the materials available can be found on the SRA website.