A new anti-money laundering (AML) approval process for law firm partners, to start in 2018, was announced today by the Law Society of Scotland.

Owners of legal practices will be expected to go through a new approval process to be introduced as part of the 2017 AML regulations.

Regulation 26 of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 requires owners and certain other individuals within those practice units who do work subject to the regulations to be approved as such by the Society. Individuals will be required to submit their applications by 26 June 2018.

The Society will confirm the requirements, and details of the solicitors to whom they will apply, as soon as possible in the new year.

Ian Messer, director of financial compliance commented: "Once the new regulations are in place we will not be able to issue an approval where an individual has been convicted of certain offences, as defined at sched 3 of the regulations. Where no application is made or the application is not approved, the individual will not be able to continue to be an owner or as postholder (in the case of non-owners who go through the process).

"We are currently liaising with other AML supervisors, HM Treasury and the Office of Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS) to determine the nature of the process which individuals will be required to undertake before submitting their application to us for approval. Issues under discussion include the extent to which we can rely on existing processes and whether individuals will be required to complete disclosure checks as part of the application process."

Click here for the Society's AML web page.