News In Focus
Race on for law firms to complete new AML registration
The portal has opened for Scottish solicitor firms to meet new anti-money laundering (AML) registration requirements, with the clock ticking down to the deadline of 26 June.
In line with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, all beneficial owners, managers and officers of Scottish law firms must register for approval with the Law Society of Scotland by 26 June 2018. The Society in turn, as a HM Treasury-appointed AML supervisor, is required to collect, retain and provide anti-money laundering related information about its members.
Ian Messer, the Society's director of financial compliance, warned that the regulations meant "a huge amount of change for solicitors" and it was vital members to keep up to date. The rules "are mandatory and non-compliance could potentially result in criminal penalties for individuals or even the closure of the firm".
To register, solicitors need to sign in to the members' area of the Society's website and select "AML registration".
There are exemptions for firms that do solely non-regulated work, principally criminal law. The Society has already contacted firms that are likely to be exempt; all others must reguster before the deadline.
Part of the process is submitting current Disclosure Scotland certificates for all the beneficial owners, managers and officers who must be registered, and these must also be obtained before the 26 June deadline.
The Society has posted online a series of questions and answers to explain the requirements and how to comply with them.
Mr Messer commented: "As the AML supervisor for Scottish solicitors, we are committed to educating and supporting our members as much as possible to ensure they can take the necessary steps to ensure compliance and prevent the Scottish legal system being used to launder the proceeds of crime.
"We will continue to send regular updates on the new AML requirements and solicitors can also check our website, where there is a wealth of information on how to comply. We have also published helpful information on the new registration process and what to do before submitting your application, such as ensuring you have the necessary disclosure documents, by the deadline on 26 June."
An article also appears in this month's Journal.
Members with further queries can email AMLregistrations@lawscot.org.uk