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SRA confirms new power to impose £25,000 fines
May 24, 2022

1. Introduction

The SRA has confirmed that plans to increase its fining powers from £2,000 to £25,000 will go ahead in an announcement released on 23rd May 2022. Furthermore, a new system of ‘fixed penalties’ for lower-level breaches will be introduced, enabling cases such as administrative failings to be dealt with more quickly.

 

 2. The New fining Powers

The changes, subject to approval from the Legal Services Board, will keep work in-house with the SRA and reduce the number of cases passed onto the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). On the increase in fining powers, the SRA said cases with fines under £25,000 tend to be straightforward matters which do not merit the time, cost and stress involved in a hearing before the SDT.   – read the full press release here

Larger city firms and lawyers may also be hit harder if found in breach of the rules. Since, for the first time, the SRA will take into account the turnover of firms and the financial means of individuals when setting fines.

Additionally, the regulator will amend the guidance to dictate that cases finding sexual misconduct, discrimination or any other form of harassment must result in a suspension or strike-off rather than a fine unless under exceptional circumstances.

Anna Bradley, SRA chair, said: ‘The overwhelming majority of solicitors meet the standards we all expect, but when they don’t, we step in to protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession. These changes will mean we can resolve issues more quickly, saving time and cost for everyone and, importantly, reducing the inevitable stress for those in our enforcement processes.

‘It was good to see broad support for our proposals, as well as getting feedback that has helped us refine our approach. It is vital that everyone can be confident that our approach is fair and transparent.’

 

 3. Cost Effective, Efficient and Robust Compliance Solutions, including AML Compliance

The Strategic Partner’s packaged compliance solutions for law firms enables our clients to achieve a compliant status, and we continue to work with them on an ongoing basis to ensure they stay compliant. This includes compliance with the AML Regulations 2017.

This allows the owners and staff to focus on services for their clients and running the firm knowing that their regulatory obligations and AML requirements are taken care of.

Our focus is to ensure each firm that works with us operates in a fully compliant environment and stays there. Through achieving this, the compliance officers in the business can be assured and confident that their obligations are being met, enabling them to focus on other areas of the firm.

3.1 Our Services

If you believe your firm may be at risk or wish to confirm your firm is achieving the required standard, at The Strategic Partner, we offer a range of solutions.

  • Regulation 21 AML 2017 Independent Audit– A review of the firm’s approach to regulation and compliance to include AML procedures with the audit meeting the requirements of Regulation 21 of the AML 2017. The output of which provides the firm with a written gap analysis and solutions to remedy any issues that rise and ensure the firm is compliant, find out more
  • Training – Our typical AML Training includes:
    • 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.
  • File Revies/Auditing– At TSP we engage with firms undertaking files reviews where we consider procedure, 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.

 

3.2 Our Packaged Compliance Solutions

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

 – 3.2.1 Risk Regulation & compliance Service including AML   – Our Risk, Regulation and Compliance Service (including AML) has been designed to provide law firms of all sizes with a compliant environment. We provide you with policies and procedures that are bespoke to how your firm works, whilst drawing your attention to any gaps in your risk and compliance activities.

We work with firms of all sizes and types, from partnerships to ABSs, high street firms, and multinational firms. Each firm is different, and whilst there is a commonality of regulation and expected standards, it is essential to recognise how a firm implements compliance to tailor the solution to each firm’s working practices.

 – 3.2.2 Risk, Compliance, AML Guidance and Register Administration Service – Running a compliant law firm is not just about implementing a set of policies and procedures; the obligations of the Compliance Officers stretch way beyond this, as there is an ongoing responsibility to manage, maintain and monitor the application of the firm’s compliance strategy.

The Strategic Partner’s Risk, Compliance, AML Guidance and Register Administration Service is an outsource solution providing all staff with access to an experienced and knowledgeable Compliance Manager for guidance, and ensuring the regulatory requirement active management of the firm’s registers is met.

We would be pleased 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.

 

 4. Get in touch with our compliance team

For more information about our Regulation and Compliance Services (including Anti Money Laundering), you can call us on 0203 911 9710 or please email us at info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk

 

 

You can view and download the PDF of this article here. 

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