Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Accountancy bodies slated over anti-money laundering controls

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The accountancy sector has come under fire for its approach to anti-money laundering (AML) supervision, with claims many professional body supervisors (PBSs) are failing to supervise standards robustly, partly for fear of upsetting members and because they believe money laundering is not an issue for firms

The new watchdog, the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), which has oversight of the 22 anti-money laundering (AML) supervisors in accountancy and law, has published its first review and says the results show ‘a very variable picture’.

In a speech covering OPBAS’s role, Alison Barker, director of specialist supervision, said the report highlighted two key issues.

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‘First, the accountancy sector and many smaller professional bodies focus more on representing their members rather than robustly supervising standards.

‘Partly because they don’t believe – or don’t want to believe – that there is any money laundering in their sector.

‘Partly because they believe that their memberships will walk if they come under scrutiny.

‘And second, this belief that there isn’t any money laundering in their sector means intelligence isn’t being shared enough.’

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