AML warning as solicitor suspended and fined over money laundering breach
In a recent notification published by The Law Society Gazette, it was confirmed that an East London solicitor handling six-figure international transactions with no experience of ever having done so and failing to apply the requirement of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (AML) has been suspended indefinitely. Whilst the tribunal opted not to strike him off, they did however insist the suspension must allow a ‘period of reflection and insight’ and time for further training. He must also pay £26,000 in costs.
The significant fine coupled with the likely loss of earnings whilst the investigation was ongoing, including the stress this would have created, plus any further losses due to the indefinite suspension is a warning to all law firms to ensure their approval to AML is in line with the requirements of the regulations. Avoiding an investigation or enquiry is without question the desired result even when issues arise. A firm being able to show a robust process for managing matters that are compliant will be able to avert an expensive and time-consuming investigation with possible prosecution.
The message is loud and clear that firms must be compliant with the AML regulations. Firms are well-advised to review their AML policies, application at case level, and their firm-wide risk assessment and take immediate action to ensure they are sufficiently robust or update them to achieve and maintain compliant status.
For many firms, dealing with this in-house without sufficient understanding, resources or time can be extremely debilitating to partners and their business, as compliance with the AML regulations is not as simple as it may first seem. Often expert advice and guidance is essential to ensure your firm achieves a compliant status and maintains it.
At The Strategic Partner, we work with firms to ensure that the AML procedures are in line with expectations and importantly we work with them on an ongoing basis to assess and adapt them to ensure they remain relevant. In addition, our standard service extends beyond AML and covers other areas of risk and compliance that are essential for a law firm.
Robust AML compliance solutions that are cost-effective and will protect your firm
The Strategic Partner’s packaged compliance solutions for firms enable our clients to achieve a compliant status, and we continue to work with them on an ongoing basis. This enables the owners and staff to focus on services for their clients and running the firm knowing that their AML requirements are taken care of. At £3000 per annum (which can be paid monthly or quarterly) the relative cost savings to firms are significant, not least of all in comparison to any potential costs and fines a firm could receive if they are found in breach of the AML obligations and find themselves confronted with an SRA enquiry.
Our service included as standard:
- Drafting bespoke policies
- Training of all staff (annually)
- Annual audits
- Annual firm-wide risk assessment
- Access to a helpline
- Implementation of notification forms giving access to compliance officers
- Implementation of checklists to control and manage risk and regulation
- Implementation and management of registers to record information and evidence compliance
- Reporting on all activity to evidence compliance
- Ongoing updates to policies and newsletters to educate and share intelligence
We deliver the resource and the expertise that a firm may not have the time to deliver. Our cornerstone service provides firms with a robust risk and compliance structure that achieves a compliant firm and ensures you stay there. You can view the full details by clicking on the link below and visiting our product brochures.
Our compliance service
We would be very happy to discuss your current approach to regulation and compliance and how our services will assist you in ensuring your firm is protected.
Often expert advice and guidance is essential to ensure your firm achieves a compliant status and maintains it.
How we can help
The Strategic Partner provides essential support to law firms. We offer a range of services and consultancy tailored to the Legal sector. We have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the overall management of law firms and work with them to achieve profitability, stability, and efficiency. Our goal is to become a valued and respected partner to our member law firms providing high-quality services and solutions at all times.