In a simpler age, the only certainties in life were death and taxes. Clearly, that’s no longer the case. A random sample of today’s safe bets might include phones becoming smarter, Premiership footballers continuing to earn staggering amounts of money and the ongoing evolution of anti money laundering (AML) regimes.
Now more changes to AML in the UK could be in the pipeline in the wake of a government review. Designed to improve the way that rules to prevent AML and terrorist financing work, the review was one of the first to be announced by the new Conservative government under its Cutting Red Tape programme to scrap unnecessary bureaucracy.
With Business Secretary Sajid Javid making potential respondents an offer they couldn’t refuse – ‘Come forward and tell us where regulation is unclear or enforcement ineffective’ – it will be interesting to see to what extent they have risen to his challenge once the review closes on 23 October and feedback and outcomes start to emerge.
Given that the UK must comply with European directives, it’s not open season on the rules. But there’s still plenty to get your teeth into, with the scope of the review ranging from how regulators like the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Revenue & Customs could work more efficiently to situations where supervision and enforcement is out of proportion to risk.
Comments currently posted on the review web page address issues ranging from the impact of regulation on small firms with low-risk clients to a response arguing that AML has failed at pretty much every level over the last 30 years.
Back to those certainties. It’s a given that AML isn’t going away and regime change is a constant. And while some may write off the Cutting Red Tape review as a cosmetic exercise that might, at best, achieve some minor tinkering round the edges, it could also be seen as an opportunity to provide some constructive criticism of various AML irritations and frustrations and potentially help to achieve some positive outcomes. At the very least, it’s a chance to get a few things off your chest.
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