On 20th February, RUSI issued a report which considers how the UK AML regime should develop after the conclusion of the 2018 FATF Mutual Evaluation report (MER) of the UK, to drive forward an approach that genuinely protects the UK’s financial integrity in practice (rather than in theory). It starts by suggesting that a cynic may have thought the surge of activity in the UK’s AML regime between 2015 and 2018 was notable, but mainly due to the imminent FATF evaluation. However, the government’s efforts seem to have paid off, with the UK receiving the highest aggregate scorings under the revised FATF evaluation methodology to date. The Report examines specific elements of the UK’s AML response and seek to challenge the intimation that the AML regime can be judged largely effective in real terms as the 2018 MER appears to suggest. The report aims to focus post-evaluation efforts by making a series of 12 recommendations for the government’s AML efforts in the post-MER policy cycle –
- 1: Refresh and publish the AML and Asset Recovery Action Plans and provide annual reports to Parliament setting out progress.
- 2: Appoint an Independent Commissioner for Economic Crime to drive progress across government.
- 3: Prioritise funding of human and technological intelligence capabilities within the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) – based at the NCA, it includes officers from the NCA, HMRC, the City of London Police, SFO, FCA, CPS and the Home Office; plus representatives from government and the private sector.
- 4: Prioritise addressing deficiencies in the AML supervisory regime and use of financial intelligence over the next three years to improve systemic effectiveness overall.
- 5: Provide an independent assessment of HMRC’s AML supervisory activities, alongside work the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) – set up by the UK government to strengthen the AML supervisory regime and ensure the professional body AML supervisors provide consistently high standards of AML supervision – is undertaking in relation to professional body supervisors.
- 6: Review the legislative information-sharing pathways between Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) – set up in 2016 to bring together law enforcement, regulators and private sector – members and consider building fit-for-purpose gateways to support the operating model.
- 7: Support FATF efforts to champion a conversation, at the global level, regarding the balance to be had between data privacy and financial crime policy objectives.
- 8: On bringing the virtual asset economy under the purview of the AML regime, ensure that provisions are tailored to the new regime, rather than simply extending existing provisions.
- 9: Provide training to prosecutors and financial investigators on the use of Part 5 (civil confiscation) POCA powers in furtherance of their objective to expand use of UWO.
- 10: Increase UKFIU headcount to 200 as promised during the 2007 FATF evaluation.
- 11: Expedite plans to update or replace the ELMER database used by UKFIU to log SAR.
- 12: Establish proactive SAR data-mining capabilities within the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) network.