Joining the Law Society has been a big step in my AML career. I come from a financial services background where my employer already had a robust and mature Anti Money Laundering regime in place. Our work was largely about keeping the wheels of that regime turning – lots of process driven Knowing Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) work.
As I became more and more experienced – to the extent that I became involved in designing and delivering AML training and checking others’ work - I began to look for opportunities to take my passion for AML somewhere I could really make a difference.
Working at the Law Society has been just that opportunity. As a (relatively) small membership body we are in the early stages of our journey as Anti Money Laundering supervisors. From a personal and professional perspective, I am finding the opportunity to help shape our policies and procedures, and help our members comply with the 2017 AML Regs, a very rewarding challenge.
AML is not a new concept, but there is now an increased focus on its importance in the UK and therefore closer scrutiny of those supervising and working in the regulated sectors. Only last week I attended a financial crime conference where Ben Wallace MP, Minister for Security and Economic Crime, laid out how Brexit demands that our legal sector leads the way in fighting crime of this sort, in order to retain its place as a trusted destination for regulated services going forward.
Earlier this year, firms covered by the scope of the regulations completed the registration and as the next major step as a Professional Body Supervisor, those same firms are required to complete a compulsory questionnaire, the AML Certificate. The Certificate captures information on the firm, its clients and services, on a year by year basis. By understanding the inherent risk profile of our membership, we can carry out fair and evidence-based AML Supervisory assurance.
The firm’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer is responsible for the certification, although you can appoint a designated person to enter information on the firm’s behalf. You can find information about how to go about this, answers to other questions you might ask in the course of the process and a really helpful toolkit, including a template risk assessment on our website – and the process must be completed by 21 December.