Accountants are key gatekeepers for the financial system, facilitating vital transactions that underpin the economy. As such, they have a significant role to play in ensuring their services are not used to further a criminal purpose.
AIA supervises our practising members for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (amended 2019), where AIA is listed in schedule 1 as an approved supervisory body. In the Republic of Ireland AIA is a designated body under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing)(Amendment) Act 2018 and SI No. 578/2019 - European Union (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2019.
The Regulations aim to ensure that relevant individuals and firms have the most appropriate and proportionate measures to deter, detect and disrupt money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Regulations apply to all practising accountants, persons and firms providing ‘accountancy services’. Those offering accountancy services who are not supervised by an approved body will be breaking the law.
Money laundering can include all forms of using or possessing criminal property (as well as facilitating the use or possession) regardless of how it was obtained. Criminal property may take any form, including: money or money's worth; securities; a reduction in a liability, and tangible or intangible property.
Money laundering activity can include: a single act (for example, possessing the proceeds of one's own crime); complex and sophisticated schemes involving multiple parties; multiple methods of handling and transferring criminal property; or concealing criminal property or entering into arrangements to assist others to conceal criminal property.
AIA operates a risk-based approach to AML supervision. AIA monitoring ensures that practices have understood and implemented key aspects of the Regulations.
When applying for a practising certificate, applicants agree to co-operate with AIA in our Quality Assurance and Practice Monitoring process. AIA's monitoring and supervision work ensures compliance with the AIA Constitution, Public Practice Regulations and legal and regulatory requirements such as the Money Laundering Regulations.
As part of AIA’s quality assurance programme members in public practice are subject to regular monitoring by trained reviewers, designed to ascertain the level of compliance with the above by enabling you to demonstrate that you have adequate policies and procedures in place.
MLR2017 requires all firms that provide accountancy services, trust or company services, or related services such as tax advice, audit or insolvency, to be supervised for compliance by a professional body listed in schedule 1 of MLR2017.
AIA automatically supervises members holding a Practising Certificate unless they are confirmed to be supervised by another professional body under MLR2017. Members that provide trust or company services as part of their main accountancy practice will be supervised by AIA for all their work.
If a member has a group structure and has subsidiaries which are authorised firms under the Financial Services and Markets Act for FCA-authorised activities, AIA will supervise the non-FCA regulated work.
You can use this flowchart to identify who the supervisory authority should be for your firm.
If you or your firm are operating in one of the business sectors within the scope of MLR2017 and you are not already supervised by a professional body or the FCA then you must register for supervision. HMRC has further guidance on their website.
Guidance is essential for all entities providing audit, accountancy, tax, insolvency or related services in the United Kingdom (including firms providing trust or company services) by way of business, irrespective of membership of a recognised professional body and sets out how to fulfil AML regulatory requirements.
AIA offers extensive guidance and support for supervised firms including:
In addition AIA provides:
Accountancy firms supervised by AIA under the Money Laundering Regulations must have robust policies and procedures in place, appropriate to the individual firm's needs, to ensure anti-money laundering compliance and AIA is pleased to offer access to AMLCC for a discounted charge to AIA Members in Practice.
AMLCC subscription provides firms with the essential tools needed to assess their clients through online reporting and record keeping as well as train their staff, this in turn gives reassurance to the AIA that AIA registered firms are meeting their statutory obligations and incorporating best practice into their work.
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR2017) requires all businesses acting as trust or company service providers (TCSPs) in the UK to be registered with HMRC where they are not already registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Firms that are not registered are not permitted under the MLR2017 to provide TCSP work.
Under MLR2017 a trust or company service provider is any firm or sole practitioner whose business is to:
A person is still considered to be a TCSP provider even if these services are provided incidentally to other accountancy services, or they are provided infrequently or on a one-off basis.
HMRC's TCSP registration guidance provides further information on what constitutes a TCSP.
HMRC'S TCSP REGISTER
In order to maintain the TCSP register, HMRC has requested that AIA (along with the other professional body supervisors) to notify HMRC of all the firms that we supervise that perform TCSP work.
AIA adds relevant firm details to HMRC's TCSP register based on your firm return information. The details on the register include:
AIA must check that supervised firms comply with Regulation 26 and that all beneficial owners, officers and managers (BOOMs) do not have a relevant criminal conviction.
AIA is only able to approve a BOOM if a valid DBS certificate has been reviewed.
Every newly appointed BOOM must obtain a DBS certificate at the time they become a BOOM and AIA must receive a notification of any appointment along with a copy of the valid DBS certificate. An individual cannot act as a BOOM within the practice without AIA authorisation.
If you come across an accountancy service provider (ASP) or trust and company service provider (TCSP) that does not appear to be regulated under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 or appears to be ignoring the regulations, and you want to report it confidentially, you can do one of the following:
If you come across an accountancy firm or trust and company service provider that is supervised by AIA and appears to be ignoring the regulations, you can report it confidentiality to us.
If information is provided to us on a confidential basis, we will take the appropriate steps to protect your identity.
As an approved supervisory body under the MLR2017 AIA is regulated by the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS). OPBAS is a regulator set up by the government to strengthen the UK’s AML supervisory regime and ensure the professional body AML supervisors provide consistently high standards of AML supervision.
AIA also works in the public interest as part of the Accountancy AML Supervisors' Group (AASG) working closely with HM Treasury, the Home Office and the National Crime Agency to represent members' views and to communicate up-to-date information and guidance back to you. The AASG is a sub committee of the UK Anti-Money Laundering Supervisors Forum (AMLSF), a forum in which professional bodies work collaboratively to develop supervisory policy to promote consistency in standards and best practice and receive AML intelligence from law enforcement agencies and the government.
AIA works in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, regulators and other professional body supervisors to share intelligence and actively combat money laundering and terrorist financing through the Accountancy Sector Intelligence Sharing Expert Group (ISEWG).
You can see further ways AIA works in the public interest to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing on our AML Insights page.