Regulators for accountants and lawyers slammed for weak money laundering supervision
Most regulators for accountants and lawyers are not doing enough to scrutinise money laundering, a senior regulator said today.
A review of the Office for Professional Body Anti Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) which was set up a year ago to monitor the performance of regulators, found many were not doing the job satisfactorily.
Alison Barker, director of specialist supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority, said some of the bodies “did not fully understand their role as an anti-money laundering supervisor”.
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She said 23 per cent had no form of supervision and 18 per cent had not identified who they need to supervise.
Over 90 per cent had not fully developed a risk based approach and had not collected all the data they needed to form a view about their riskiest members and services,
Barker said the review had found two key problems.
Firstly that some regulators focus more on representing their members than robustly supervising standards.
She said some of the regulators “don’t believe – or don’t want to believe – that there is any money laundering in their sector”.
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Barker said this was partly because they believe their membership “will walk if they come under scrutiny”.
Secondly she said intelligence sharing among many of the regulators was poor.
“Because many professional bodies have been slow to accept that their members could be used to launder money – there has not been enough intelligence sharing,” she said.
Barker called for an improved quantity and quality of supervision, enforcement and intelligence sharing.
“The standards of supervision over the legal and accountancy sectors in the UK have been very variable,” she said. “We need to see robust action to prevent professionals being used to launder money.”