An innovative online system to help solicitors meet anti-money laundering obligations is being launched this month

The AML (anti-money laundering) compliance solution is an initiative, endorsed by the Society, from Perth-based Kirklands Business Solutions Ltd. The system is a package of AML training, cloud-based software and ongoing support, which provides a framework for AML compliance. This solution is aimed primarily at small/medium-sized firms that do not have their own in-house compliance team.

Its launch follows a tender exercise and review of the product by specialist solicitors. The Society’s brief in its tender document was to provide members with a practical tool with built-in processes and procedures, with accompanying support, designed to assist legal firms in complying with AML regulations. 

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 to protect themselves from breaches of the AML regulations.

It 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.

The 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.

“The Society currently offers 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.”

Software first

Kirklands director Graham Gibson commented: “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 regulations.

“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 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.”

Gibson said that 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.

“Many supervisory and representative bodies in the UK and beyond assist their members by promoting a paper-based toolkit,” he added. “But as far as I am aware, providing members with access to a software framework, within which they can do all of their AML compliance, is a world first.

“By participating in this initiative, Scottish legal firms will not only find it easier 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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