Crime

ICAEW: current AML laws fail to recognise sector’s role as ‘gatekeeper’

Its comments come in response to the Treasury’s recent ‘Call for Evidence: Review of the UK’s AML/CFT regulatory and supervisory regime’ consultation document

The ICAEW has warned that the current supervisory regime and regulations surrounding anti-money laundering (AML) fail to recognise the accountancy sector as a “gatekeeper” in preventing financial crime in the UK.

Its comments come in response to the Treasury’s recent ‘Call for Evidence: Review of the UK’s AML/CFT regulatory and supervisory regime’ consultation document.

The document in question was first released on 21 July 2021, and the ICAEW has “welcomed” the opportunity to publicly release its response today (14 October). 

Amongst its response, in regards to the sector’s role, the ICAEW stated the government’s focus on the number of Suspicious Activity Reports the accountancy sector makes “misses this crucial part of the puzzle”. 

In addition, the ICAEW has called for Companies House to be given extended powers as part of a proposed reform. 

It said: “Accountants have an obligation to review information held on the CH register of People with Significant Control when they take on a new client and report any discrepancies, but currently CH don’t have the necessary powers to resolve these.”

Finally, the trade body said the industry “needs a greater sharing of intelligence from law enforcement” to help inform its supervisory activity and educate members on how to best identify emerging threats in economic crime. 

It added: “We strongly support proposals to expand the legislative gateway for information and intelligence sharing between law enforcement and the profession, but the information doesn’t flow back to us.”

Its response follows a consultation with the AML Project Board, a subcommittee of the ICAEW Regulatory Board. The independent board has governed ICAEW’s regulatory and disciplinary functions since 2015 and has a wide remit including the setting of strategy and budget, determining regulatory fees and supervision of the performance of all disciplinary and regulatory committees. 

The trade body also consulted with the Economic Crime Sub-Committee, which is part of the Business Law Committee. The sub-committee includes representatives from public practice.

The associations full response to the consultation can be found here.

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