Known Unknowns: Plugging the UK’s Intelligence Gaps on Money Laundering Involving Professional Services Providers

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Members of the UK’s professional services sector, including lawyers, accountants, estate agents and trust and company services providers, are regarded as key actors in so-called high-end money laundering. However, the involvement and roles of these professionals, and the risks posed to firms in the sector, appear not to be clearly understood and the authorities regard the flow of intelligence from them, as measured by number of Suspicious Activity Reports, to be ‘relatively low’ and declining.

And yet in response there is a highly fragmented anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory landscape covering these professionals, the effectiveness of which has been questioned and is likely to attract comment from the Financial Action Task Force in the soon-to-be-published Mutual Evaluation of the UK. HMRC, which currently supervises a range of non-financial businesses, has even queried the extent to which HM Government might want them to continue in this role; other parts of the sector are supervised by a bewildering array of Self-Regulatory Bodies. In recognition of these complexities, the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision has been established and is now formally operational, with remits to ‘raise the bar’ on supervision and to facilitate information flows with the regulated sectors.

Speakers will include:

  • Helena Wood, Associate Fellow, RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies
  • Paul Simkins, Director of Quality Assurance, Professional Standards at the (ICAEW) and Chair of the AML Supervisors Forum
  • Sarah Wheeler, Manager - Office for Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS)
  • Steve Goodrich, Transparency International

The event will be chaired by David Artingstall, Associate Fellow, RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies.

1600-1630: tea and coffee served

1630-1800: presentation of ‘Known Unknowns’ research paper followed by panel remarks and audience Q&A

This event will be held under the Chatham House rule.

This event and the associated Occasional Paper ‘Known Unknowns: Plugging the UK’s Intelligence Gaps on Money Laundering Involving Professional Services Providers’ are funded by Open Society Foundations’ Fiscal Governance Program.

If you would like to attend this event, please contact Allana on allanah@rusi.org



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