Tuesday, January 23,
2018 06.27PM / FCA
new watchdog launches today to strengthen the UK’s defences against money
laundering and terrorist financing.
The Office for Professional Body
Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) is based within the FCA and
will work with all the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) supervisors to help
improve standards, and with law enforcement to strengthen cooperation.
OPBAS will directly oversee the
22 accountancy and legal professional body AML supervisors in the UK.
It will ensure these 22 organisations meet the high standards set out in
the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, and has powers to
investigate and penalise those that do not.
The Economic Secretary to the
Treasury, John Glen, said:
This new watchdog
will deepen the government’s partnership with the private sector as we work
together to tackle illicit finance whilst minimising the burdens on legitimate
businesses. This sends a clear message to criminals and terrorists that their
dirty money is not welcome here.
Launching OPBAS delivers on
the government’s commitment to reform the AML supervisory regime, a
key part of the 2016
Action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance.
It is the latest step in the
government’s biggest reform of the UK’s AMLregime in a decade, building on
wider work including enhancing law enforcement’s powers through the Criminal
Finances Act and updating the Money Laundering Regulations to implement the
latest international standards, both of which took effect in 2017. It also
complements the government’s work with the private sector to raise awareness of
financial crime and how to guard against it, including through the Flag It Up
and the Take Five campaigns.
The Oversight of Professional Body
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Supervision Regulations
2017, which underpin OPBAS, took effect on 18
January. OPBAS will not directly monitor the businesses that the
professional bodies supervise.
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