AML Certificate extended deadline

Please note that due to difficulties faced by many firms as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken the decision to extend the AML Certificate submission period and move the deadline back to 12 June 2020.

We know that, for some firms, it may in fact be easier to find time to complete the certificate process, as client facing meetings may be reduced, but we understand that some firms which will find this more difficult.

We will update members further in the future, should there be any further changes.

About the certificate

The AML Certificate is a crucial tool in our statutory obligation to deploy a risk-based approach to our AML Supervision. The Certificate is a questionnaire about your products, services, clients and the way in which you deliver your services, and is compulsory for those firms which fall within the scope of the AML Regulations. 

  • this year’s AML Certificate submission period is now open and certificates must be submitted by the revised Friday 12 June deadline
  • the relevant period (the period of business which the questions relate to) is November 2018 to December 2019*

You can download a copy of the AML Certificate (with supporting information), should you wish to prepare your answers on a ‘paper copy.’ Please note the paper copy is for preparation purposes only and you must use the online portal to complete and return the certificate.

Please see our frequently asked questions below and further information in the AML section of the members area before completing your AML Certificate and keep an eye on your inbox for further information and updates.

*The 14 month reporting period applies as a result of the changed AML Certificate period and will revert to 12 months from next year.

In the 'Client Account Payments' section of the certificate, we ask that you provide the 'number of cash payments over £10k.'

In this context we are referring to physical cash money brought to you for deposit into your firm or client account. (Note, this is different in meaning to  a 'cash purchase' in conveyancing which refers to a purchase completed without the use of lending or a mortgage).

 

In the 'Delivery' section of the Certificate, we ask you to indicate the percentage of your transactions or matters for the Relevant Period which included third party funds.

By 'third party funds', we mean funds which come from a third party which are not part of regulated lending. Common examples of third party funds might include gifted deposits or loans from family members, or funds provided by a company or trust related to your client.

In the 'General' section of the Certificate, we ask for details of 'gross fees' and 'gross profit.'

'Gross fees' are your total fees for your last reported year end.

'Gross profit' is your gross fees minus costs (salaries etc.), before tax, also at your last year end.

Yes, under Accounts Rule B9, completion of the AML Certificate is compulsory. The usual process for non-compliance will be followed where necessary, which may result in referral of a complaint to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.   

No. The AML registration process, whereby firms must keep us informed of Partners, Beneficial Owners etc, is distinct from the AML Certificate . Being up to date with your AML Registrations is not the same as being covered for your AML Certificate. You must still complete the AML Certificate process annually.

If your firm does not offer any of the services listed below, it may be that you do not need to submit an AML Certificate. You will of course need to satisfy yourself on the legal position.

Any firm which is exempt from reporting under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 should complete a declaration of exemption to be entered in the firm's record. If you do not yet have this but believe you are exempt, please download and complete an exemption declaration and send to us at aml@lawscot.org.uk

The service provision bringing firms within scope of the Regulations are,

  • the buying and selling of real property or business entities
  • the managing of client money, securities or other assets
  • the opening or management of bank, savings and securities accounts
  • the organisation of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies
  • the creation, operation or management of trusts, companies, foundations or similar structures
  • forming companies or other legal persons
  • acting or arranging for another person to act;
    • as a director or secretary of a company
    • as a partner of a partnership; or
    • in a similar capacity in relation to other legal persons
  • providing a registered office, business address, correspondence or administrative address or other related services for a company, partnership or any other legal person or legal agreement
  • acting or arranging for another person to act, as;
    • a trustee of an express trust or similar legal arrangement; or
    • a nominee shareholder for a person other than a company whose securities are listed on a regulated market

 

 

The MLRO should sign in to the Members Area of our website using their own credentials, then select AML from the menu on the left hand side. They should then select the AML Certificate tab, read the notes and scroll down to begin completing the form. 

Please remember to use the Select Firm Box to confirm the Firm you are completing on behalf of.

Please also note the certificate is available to download and print to aid you in completion. You may also wish to save this for future submissions.

Please note that due to difficulties faced by many firms as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have taken the decision to extend the AML Certificate submission period and move the deadline back to 12 June 2020.

We know that, for some firms, it may in fact be easier to find time to complete the certificate process, as client facing meetings may be reduced, but we understand that some firms which will find this more difficult.

We will update members further in the future, should there be any further changes.

Some fields are mandatory. The most likely explanation is that you have not completed all of the mandatory questions. If your answer to any question is No/None, 0, or Not Applicable this must still be entered.

Please remember to also complete the Position within the Firm field on the first page and then Select Your Firm field on the first page.

Yes, you can access a word copy of the certificate here and a copy will also be available at the bottom of the AML Certificate tab, when you log in to the portal in the AML section of the members area.  Please note that theses copies of the certificate are for reference only and your AML Certificate must be completed online.

The time taken to complete the Certificate will be dependent on a range of factors within your business, for example the information systems you use or staff knowledge. It is recommended you begin completing the Certificate as soon as possible. Please note, while it may take some time to complete it in the first year, you will then have a good base from which to complete the Certificate going forward.

Having a system in place to record information necessary for completion of your AML Certificate going forward is recommended and your case management provider may be able to help you.

While accuracy is of course necessary, we are not demanding exact and verifiable answers from your firm if they are not available. Therefore, we do not foresee firms being completely unable to answer any of the questions.

To help you answer check the information 'pop up' boxes where they appear as an ‘I’ next to questions in the Certificate and read these FAQs in the first instance. Your most recent Lockton’s Master Policy application may help you in completing the Certificate. You can contact aml@lawscot.org.uk if you are still having difficulty providing an answer to a question.

The MLRO should log in to the portal using their individual details rather than firm login details. The MLRO must submit the form. A designated person may be set up to enter information into the portal but the MLRO remains responsible for the information entered and must submit the form.

The MLRO should email registrar@lawscot.org.uk  to name a designated person. They should provide full name, company, business address, phone number, email address and date of birth of the designated person. That person will then be assigned specific log-in details to allow them access to the form.

Yes, as part of the AML Certificate you must also supply a copy of your Firm Level Risk Assessment. This assessment is a statutory obligation within the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (Reg. 18) and you should already have one in place. The AML Toolkit on our website has a template for a Firm Level Risk Assessment should you require one.

No, you should not complete the Certificate if you are registered outside of Scotland.

The responses will be used to assign inherent AML risk profiles across our supervised population. An inherent AML risk profile is a consideration of your firm’s AML risk before any mitigating controls are put into place and is therefore not a reflection of, or judgment on, your policies, controls and procedures or your firm’s ability to mitigate risk. The results of any analysis will inform our risk-based approach to supervision.

The data is stored in our internal data management system along with all other information about firms that we hold. The data is also drawn down into a protected Excel dashboard platform to allow any risk analysis to take place. For more information on our Privacy Policy please visit our website.

We currently intend to store  data for up to five years for each AML Certificate return.

We do not intend to share your data outside of the regulatory functions of the Law Society of Scotland. However, where our regulator (OPBAS) carries out any audit of our files, they may have sight of the data as part of that audit function. Collated or anonymised data may be used to educate or inform governmental departments as well as our membership. At all times we remain bound by the reporting obligations contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and other legislation.

No, the Certificate can be completed over a number of sessions, but make sure you use the 'Select Firm' box before you log out or your changes may not be saved.

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Anti-money laundering

The fight against money laundering and counter terrorist financing - the role of the legal profession.