The OPBAS will be hosted by the FCA, and essentially will act as a supervisor of supervisors, monitoring the activities of professional bodies in other sectors at risk of money laundering.
This move is intended to complement the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 by strengthening standards of AML supervision. We wait to see whether it will really enhance the fight against financial crime, or whether it puts additional strain on the FCA for limited impact.
Yesterday, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) published a consultation seeking views on proposed rules that will apply to the 22 professional body supervisors that sets out expectations in relation to anti-money laundering supervision.
OPBAS is set to play a crucial role in tackling financial crime by ensuring that loopholes and inconsistencies across industry guidance documents are no longer open to exploitation. Firms in affected sectors (list below) may now find they are subject to as much scrutiny as financial services firms regulated by the FCA.
The FCA certainly has teeth to make an impact. Where appropriate, it will publicly censure the Professional Body AML Supervisors or recommend that the Treasury cancel their status as an AML supervisor, neither action will be an appealing thought for the other regulators.
It is expected that OPBAS will be operational from early 2018 and firms in affected sectors may want to prepare for a more invasive regime, if indeed their professional body does not force their hand.
There are many ways we can assist, including:
The 22 professional bodies that will be supervised by OPBAS are:
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