Law Society endorses new anti-money laundering compliance system
An innovative online system to help solicitors meet anti-money laundering (AML) obligations is being launched this month.
The AML Compliance Solution has been developed by Perth-based Kirklands Business Solutions Ltd and is endorsed by the Law Society of Scotland.
The system, aimed primarily at small/medium-sized firms that do not have their own in-house compliance team, is a package of AML training, cloud-based software and ongoing support.
The Law Society’s Director of Financial Compliance, Ian Messer, said: “Money laundering compliance represents a challenge for solicitors in Scotland, particularly for smaller firms and sole practitioners.
“We currently offer some assistance to firms meeting AML obligations by providing information and good practice guidance online and through events. We also deal with enquiries from the profession regarding regulatory and practice matters.
“However, day-to-day management of AML compliance can only be handled by the firms themselves, and this product helps them do that by, for instance, setting out a clear compliance process, including ready-made standard documents for completion.”
The launch of the system follows a tender exercise and review of the product by specialist solicitors.
Kirklands Director Graham Gibson, said: “The Law Society’s brief in their tender document was to provide members with a practical tool with built-in processes and procedures, with accompanying support, designed to assist legal firms complying with AML regulations.
“Needless to say, we are delighted to have been selected to partner with the Society in providing this easy-to-use and low-cost solution, which will help solicitors comply with the AML regulations.
“Being software, rather than paper-based, the framework is better able to cater with the myriad of different AML scenarios that members have to deal with.
“By streamlining the process and guiding staff through every step in a transaction, it is intended to dramatically improve the quality of AML compliance, while reducing cost and effort for those who subscribe.”
He explained that the framework includes a sample policy statement that firms can tailor, an automated sanctions lists checker, electronic ID checks from Equifax and Companies House, and all of the processes and procedures that firms require to remain compliant and protect themselves from breaches of AML regulations contained in UK legislation and the Society’s rules.
The online system will be backed up by initial and ongoing training, free telephone support and a discussion forum. Other benefits include access to a comprehensive library of legislation, case law and best practice developments.
Graham Gibson added: “In consultation with the Society and our network of money laundering reporting officers, the framework will be kept under continuous review to ensure it reflects current best practice.
“By participating in this initiative, Scottish legal firms will not only make it easier for them to comply with the AML regulations, they will also boost Scotland’s reputation on the international stage for creating innovative solutions to tricky problems.”
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