SRA focus on conveyancers to tighten anti-money laundering controls

SRA focus on conveyancers to tighten anti-money laundering controls

It has been announced the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are improving efforts to effectively reduce money laundering activity within all regulated businesses, including law firms and property industry professionals.

Conveyancing is a key sector of focus for this scheme, as the handling of large sums of money make it a prime target for criminals. To help prevent this, solicitors and practitioners have a duty under the Code of Conduct to ensure their business adheres to the latest anti-money laundering legislation and Proceeds of Crime Act.

The most recent Money Laundering Regulations came into force at the end of 2007 and all businesses covered have had to put the correct controls in place in order to comply.

Areas of the conveyancing industry monitored under these regulations include:

  • Assessing whether your practice will attract money laundering.
  • Ensuring you are checking the identity of your customers.
  • Management control systems have been put place, with sufficient knowledge and training given to all employees where applicable.
  • Keeping records of all transactions, employee and client checks and other important procedures carried out in your business.

Starting today (8th September 2014) the SRA will be working closely with large firms and sole practitioners to assess the current controls in place and provide guidance on further action.

Chief Executive of the SRA, Paul Philip says: "Law firms often handle large sums of money, and this means they attract those who seek to launder the proceeds of crime. We want to work with the profession to ensure that all firms, no matter how large or small, have the systems in place to guard against money laundering and that they are compliant with the current regulations and legislation.

"Our work will focus initially on those firms deemed at highest risk, but all firms need to be aware of the issue. There will be serious consequences for those who fail to take their obligations seriously."

Once this work has been completed, the SRA will report their findings later in the summer next year.

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