Fined firm claim sector struggle with AML rules
After accepting a fine from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for breaches of anti-money laundering rules, a firm has come out and said a “significant proportion” of law firms had “struggled to achieve compliance” with the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations.
QualitySolicitors Brett Holt came to an agreement with the SRA to pay a £10,000 fine after breaches of the AML rules with regards to the firm’s training, approach to risk assessment and in a conveyancing transaction which produced £850 in fees.
The firm has been fined for:
- Failing to conduct identity checks and holding address verification documents for clients involved in a conveyancing transaction in 2017
- Failing to train staff on the law relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Not possessing a risk assessment as required by regulators between June 2017 and December 2018.
In mitigation, the firm quoted the SRA’s study of 400 firms’ anti-money laundering risk assessments conducted in 2019, which found 21% were not compliant, including 10% that weren’t able to produce a risk assessment at all.
The firm stated:
“It is therefore clear that this is an area where a significant proportion of the industry has struggled to achieve compliance.”
The SRA said:
“It was incumbent upon the firm, as a practice handling substantial sums of client money in the course of property transactions, to be alert to its obligations in respect of preventing money laundering.”
Please note: this article has appeared on Legal Futures.