On 15th December, law firm Latham published an article about the mutual evaluation review of the effectiveness of the UK’s AML/CFT measures. It notes that, whilst the report is largely positive, areas for improvement are highlighted –
- FATF observes that it is unclear whether the level of prosecutions and convictions for high-end money laundering is or will be commensurate with the UK’s risk profile. The article translates this as meaning that the UK may be doing a good job with easier cases, but not the more complex and potentially more serious ones
- FATF notes that the UK is not taking full advantage of its financial intelligence data, largely because of the policy decision that the FIU should have a limited remit — noting this is despite similar concerns being raised “over a decade ago in the UK’s previous FATF evaluation”;
- whilst the volume of SAR is increasing year on year, 80% of these continue to be from 4 banks. Meanwhile, the number of SAR filed by the accountancy and legal sectors, as well as money services businesses is decreasing;
- under the UK’s supervisory and regulatory framework, only a small population of firms are subject to regular, periodic review;
- the FCA risk-based approach to supervision requires substantial improvement and should be based on a more nuanced understanding of firms’ risk profiles rather than their size alone.
The article concludes with a set of recommended action points for firms.