Fraser Sinclair is the AML Analyst in our Financial Compliance team.
Last year saw the inaugural roll-out of the AML Certificate process. The AML Certificate is an annual return due from all firms which fall within scope of the Money Laundering Regulations, providing AML-relevant information on their business, their clients and their transactions. This allows us, as the statutory regulator for Scottish solicitors, to build an accurate picture of the inherent risk faced by firms.
The 2018 AML Certificate was a great success and we are now in the process of using the information to embed a fairer, evidence-based approach to the frequency and intensity of AML Supervision.
We have also taking feedback and learnings from last year and applied them to this year's process - one of the key changes will be a shift in the timing away from a pre-Christmas holiday deadline and towards a cleaner calendar year reporting period.
Going forward, the period for submission of the AML Certificate will move from year-end to following year-start. How this looks for your next certificate is shown below. Essentially, the 'relevant period' (ie the period we are asking about and shown in blue below) will be the whole calendar year preceding the 'submission period' (shown in green below).
For this 2020 submission only, we will be asking for the submission to include additional data covering business carried out between October and December 2018, in addition to the January to December 2019 data . This will allow us to move onto the new 'relevant period' without missing any information. For clarity, this year's submission will cover a fourteen month period.
We have refined the questions in the AML Certificate based on participant feedback and our own analysis of the results and so some questions have been removed, some are new, and some have been amended. Generally, it will look very familiar to those who completed it last year.
Although the shift does mean more time for collation of data, we recommend that you start this process in good time to ensure completion during the submission period.
In order to give firms a start in getting ready for submission, we hope to share a copy of the new certificate with you before the end of the year. More information will be made available later this year and early next year so keep an eye on Lawscot news, our website and your inbox. for more information.