During the course of the month, we have published a number of articles in which we discuss regulatory issues directly relevant to law firms and industry professionals. In this month’s Compliance Partner newsletter, we review industry related news along with the latest regulation and compliance updates and advice published by The Strategic Partner.

Key compliance articles:

A More Risk Based and Proportionate Approach to AML The Law Society have reinforced the need to move away from ‘box ticking’ risk assessments and to truly understand the clients and matters a firm is dealing with through a full risk assessment. Firms must go one stage further and document their risk assessment and through processes demonstrating they understand their client, the matter they are dealing with and where necessary the source of funds and source of wealth. Read more

Is lack of training for your COLP, COFA or MLCO and MLRO harming your firm?

It is not enough to put AML procedures in place, it is much more about fully understanding the responsibilities and putting them into practice. The Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) has continued to warn firms of its recent findings of failures across the industry. Nearly two-thirds of firms it reviewed in a new programme of AML checks at the beginning of this year required “some form of engagement” with the regulator as a result. – Read more

Anti Money Laundering – What the SRA learnt from Law Firm Visits

When the SRA virtually visited firms to check on their money laundering systems, over 10% of firms were not compliant and referred for investigation. Would yours pass? – Read more

Changing the way we think about KYC (Know Your Client)

The continued move away from physically meeting people presents fraudsters and other criminals, such as Money Launderers, with increased opportunity to bypass a firm’s defences to access the services to further their criminal activity. Read more

 

Helpful Links

Compliance News Round-up

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) have said that a solicitor’s personal life can still be subject to disciplinary. Such as sexual misconduct and social media usage. The recent prosecution of a senior solicitor in a suspected sexual misconduct matter has come under close scrutiny in recent months. A high profile ruling against former Freshfields partner was overturned by the High Court. The partner was found to have breached SRA principles 2 and 6 after spending the night with a junior colleague in 2016. But the Court of Appeal ruled that the SDT’s conclusion that Beckwith undermined public trust was ‘flawed, and cannot stand. However, it did not prevent the SDT from taking action in the first instance.

Another recent case that highlighted the use of social media where a former CPS solicitor was reprimanded by the SRA for offensive Facebook posts and the regulator stated the solicitor failed to act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in the legal services provided by authorised persons and failed to act in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA principles 2019.

Scandalous’ SRA delays in the investigation of disciplinary cases
The SRA have been criticised for delaying investigations into the alleged wrongdoing of solicitors which often leave them placing their professional lives on hold and in some cases unemployed for
long periods of time. The SRA have not taken any action to address how to deal with matters in a more timely manner. Having an investigation being carried out against you by the SRA is stressful
enough but the additional aspect of waiting years for cases to be brought to the SDT and concluded is another ordeal in itself.

SRA visits 85 firms in a year as part of AML crackdown
In its first report as a professional supervisor, the Solicitors Regulation Authority said it made a total of 85 visits in the period and carried out a further 168 desk-based reviews.

Training and Compliance Solutions

At The Strategic Partner, we have recently seen an increase in various requests from the SRA to evidence records of training, risk and compliance audits fee transparency on websites, and up to date policies and procedures.
Our goal is to ensure the firms we work with have, and retain a compliant structure enabling the firms, their managers, and owners to focus on the running of their business and servicing their clients. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to risk and compliance and a pro-active response will not only keep the regulator from your door but will also help manage costs. Some of our training and compliance solutions include:

Training and Compliance Solutions

Whether you are seeking training on a 1-2-1 or Group basis The Strategic Partner has a range of training courses and mentoring programmes to suit any firm and we can also design additional bespoke courses that you need. We have provided training to firms of all sizes, and our clients range from sole practitioners through to multi-office, multi-service firms with overseas offices.
Our goal is to become the Training Partner for Law Firms providing training using our in-house expertise or bringing in third-party experts where required. All of our training is competitively priced and cost-effective. To view our range of Training Courses click on this link.

Risk, Regulation and Compliance Service including AML

Our Risk, Regulation and Compliance Service including AML provide firms with a robust approach to Regulations, Compliance and risk management, giving the compliance officers peace of mind that the requirements of the regulator are being met on an ongoing basis and can be evidenced. For firms with an internal team or person allocated to managing regulation and compliance, external expert support will enhance your internal strategies.
If you believe your firm may be at risk or you simply wish to confirm your firm is achieving the required standard, at The Strategic Partner, we offer a range of solutions which include: –

Review – A review of the firm’s approach to regulation and compliance to include AML procedures. The output of which provides the firm with a written gap analysis and solutions to remedy any issues.

Training – to include:

AML Training for ALL staff to meet the firm’s obligation to provide annual training. 1-2-1 training for the MLRO and MLCO on their obligations and requirements. Practical training for those involved in client onboarding to ensure their ID and AML checks are correctly completed.

Auditing – Procedural, staff, systems and files to ensure the procedures are up to the required standard and being implemented at case level with a report of the outcome.

Solutions – Implementation of robust solutions to ensure the firm achieves compliance and then maintains compliance through the provision of ongoing support and assistance: –

 

Transparency Rules Review

The Strategic Partner’s compliance team will review your website for a fee of £50 and provide you with a written report that

  • Highlights any issues you may have
  • Advises the action to take to rectify any errors

We can also work with you to implement the changes if you require them. Our team of expert and dedicated compliance officers are here to assist you and your firm.

 

Get in Touch

For more information on our risk and compliance products, training service or to speak to one of our compliance team you can click on the links below, visit our website www.thestrategicpartner.co.uk, email us info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk or call us on 020 3911 9710

 

You can view and download the PDF version of this newsletter here. 

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