The anti-money laundering crackdown is here. Are you ready?

By Alan Gregory | 31st October 2018 | 15 min read

Steve Murray, Keytime’s Product Specialist for AML, gives his insight into the changing picture in anti-money laundering compliance, and explains how accountants must adapt.

Have you ever heard of OPBAS?

Chances are you haven’t. Yet, it is an important new regulator and its operations mean you could face a lengthy, stressful audit if you’re not mindful of its work.

OPBAS stands for The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision. Launched in January, along with new regulations, it is part of a wider package of reforms to strengthen the AML supervisory regime in the United Kingdom.

I’m hearing a lot from accountants already that they are getting phone calls about their AML compliance as a result. It seems OPBAS is leaning on professional accountancy bodies such as ICAEW to encourage their members.

I recently heard a story when I was presenting at the Ashton Keytime conference which should put this topic in sharp perspective for other accountants.

A female accountant, sitting in the audience, told other delegates how she had recently had a call from ICAEW, asking her what she was doing about AML. Her response: “I use IRIS AML.” The official said, ‘okay that’s great’ and the call ended. In contrast, her accountant friend, another ICAEW member, received the same call and question. Her response: “No, I do not have software.” The official immediately arranged to audit her business. Quite a difference in the outcome!

This audit visit then took around three hours of the accountant’s time (plus all the preparation beforehand and the associated worry) and resulted in being told she must improve how she is carrying out AML checks.

I know which call I would prefer to have with my professional body. So, it’s simple really. Having AML compliant software can save you a massive headache and a very much unwanted audit of your practice.

It does seem to me that accountants are realising now that they have to pull their fingers out and become more compliant. I’ve had around 1,000 accountancy professionals attending my AML webinars in the last year and a half.

During these webinars, it’s not been hard to explain why our AML software is so good. One extremely useful feature is that it automatically reminds you to reassess each client every year – something the professional bodies recommended.

IRIS AML enables you to see immediately where work is still required, with compliance or non-compliance displayed using simple to read green, amber and red icons.  The software enables accountants, solicitors, and other regulated businesses to perform all aspects of compliance recording and monitoring.

By using it you can manage and document all AML related policies and procedures and implement a risk-based assessment scheme for all your clients.

Some of the key features:

-          Identifies non-compliant clients and helps you to bring them up to date

-          Enables you to create a risk assessment using eight essential AML questions

-          Creates an audit trail of who has done what – something key for GDPR and institutions like ICAEW.

-          Electronic ID verification system, with no minimum number of checks or setup costs

-          Download and search the latest Treasury sanctions list at the click of a button

-          Training compliance videos to ensure staff are up to speed with knowledge

-          Imports client records from your existing databases

-          Allows you to record suspicions

-          Keeps you up to date with changing legislation such as alterations to the definitions and rules on       politically exposed people

-          Includes an AML compliance technical reference manual by SWAT UK Limited

It’s clear that, with the new regulator cracking down and professional bodies’ increasingly aware of the issue, putting AML compliance on ice is no longer an option.

Give our AML expert Steve Murray a call or drop him an email today to hear how we can help you.

07966 497785

0161 484 3500