There is no doubt that the continued drive to ensure your firm is complying with the various regulations and being able to demonstrate understanding and implementation of those obligations have stepped up a gear more recently. The SRA have been demanding firms to confirm their compliance with the AML regulations and cost transparency requirements through requesting declarations from the COLP alongside performing desk-based reviews.
Failing to ensure your firm is fully compliant with any of these requirements or the AML regulations will put the COLP, MLCO, MLRO and the firm generally at risk.
It has therefore never been more vital for law firms to review their compliance procedures and to ensure that a compliant environment has been created and is being sustained.
Understanding and adopting your requirements
Effective compliance relies on a law firm’s understanding of the regulatory objectives and additionally creating a compliant environment where all staff conform to and respect what is required of them.
Below we have provided a brief overview of the basic steps you should be taking to ensure you and your staff maintain the regulatory requirements expected of you, and compliance solutions to help your law firm remain compliant.
- Understand the codes of conduct, solicitors accounts rules and other legislation that affects the management of a law firm (for example Money Laundering regulation and bribery act). Where firms can get caught out is in the requirements that are not immediately obvious so ensure you have a detailed knowledge of what your requirements are.
- Have policies, controls and procedures that meet the regulatory standards and are proportionate so they work in your firm.
- Ensure your staff are trained on your law firm’s policies and procedures. Once training has been provided be sure to record the proof.
- Audit and review application of your policies and procedures at both staff and case level. They have to be implemented and used or you are at risk.
- Provide an easy and effective solution for staff to access the compliance officers that also records the interaction.
- Do not shroud your firm in complex procedures and bureaucracy that will not work in-practise, it will lead to poor implementation and disengagement.
- Maintain registers to record your activity on an ongoing basis.
- Train your staff annually and all new starters. Evidence that training has been provided.
- Perform an annual risk assessment of your firm to ensure all areas of risk are identified.
- Review your registers and look for trends. Interact with your staff and adapt what you are doing where necessary.
Are you a firm where you COLP, COFA, MLCO are both fee earners and compliance officers?
We recognise that compliance is essential but time consuming. Our service is designed to provide firms, their COLP, COFA and MLRO with the comfort of knowing, that even in the busiest of times, that you remain compliant and can evidence that you are.
Our focus is to ensure each firm that works with us operated 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.
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 who have an internal team or person allocated to managing regulation and compliance having 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 completed properly.
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: –
The Strategic Partner provides essential support to law firms. We offer a range of services and consultancy tailored to the Legal sector including guidance and services for regulation and compliance including AML. 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. If you would like to discuss how your firm approaches AML or if you would like to discuss any of our solutions you can call us on 020 3911 9710, email us firstname.lastname@example.org visit our website and make an online enquiry.