Created in partnership with supervisory bodies, AMLCC’s online platform features every tool that accountants and bookkeepers need to stay anti-money laundering compliant. And makes it easy to do so.
Because all of this is online and in one place, an AMLCC subscription could make your firm significantly more productive*, as well as give you the peace of mind that you’re totally AML compliant.
AIA and AMLCC
AIA members can access the standard AMLCC package at a discounted rate, which includes your MLRO and three members of staff with additional users added at a small additional cost.
AMLCC are actively supporting smaller practices and have introduced 2 further discount levels as follows:
AMLCC request that any firm interested in the additional discount levels complete the declaration form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the relevant 50% or 75% discount code.
To subscribe to AMLCC click here.
The UN’s Office on Drugs & Crime has found that up to US$2 trillion is laundered globally every year. This is 5% of the world's GDP. This money comes from the kind of illegal activities you read about every day – drugs, fraud and human trafficking to name a couple.
Shocking though it may seem, having a client that's involved in these crimes is not unlikely. The 2020 MLTF National Risk Assessment confirmed this. The trusted reputation of the accountancy sector makes it high risk as a target for criminal activity.
Your AML obligations exist so you can detect and report suspicious activity internally to your MLRO, who then decides whether to make a SAR to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
What are your AML obligations?
Your legally required AML obligations include:
Non-compliance puts your firm's reputation at risk. The accountancy supervisors are really cracking down. Between the ICAEW and AAT alone, 11
members were expelled and 10 had practicing licenses revoked in 2021/2022 as well as fined practices up to £24,500. HMRC also revoked practicing licenses and issued numerous fines including a fine of approximately £17,000 to a small firm for inadequate risk assessments and other non-compliance issues.
How can AMLCC help?
AMLCC, when used correctly, allows you to fulfil all of your firm's AML obligations. Effectively, efficiently and in one online platform. Thousands of UK accountants have already used it to pass their supervisory visits and protect themselves from the consequences of non-compliance.
Tailor online AML policy & compliance documents that reflect your national guidance. Every document & update is saved to your audit trail.
Online firm & client risk assessments give guidance & mitigation advice where appropriate. Add comments and documents to show your actions and demonstrate your understanding & make internal reports through AMLCC.
Industry-specific AML training videos give every employee & manager strong, up-to-date knowledge of AML rules & regulations.
If money laundering, terrorist financing or proliferation financing is detected, or suspected, employees and agents can make an internal SAR to your MLRO through AMLCC. Guidance on what information to submit means the resulting SAR from your MLRO is always comprehensive.
AIA members qualify for a discount on their AMLCC subscription. For more information on how AMLCC can enable your firm’s AML compliance, risk management and education, please visit us at amlcc.com
Director of AMLCC, Richard Simms, explains why Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are at the root of your AML obligations - and why you need to take them very seriously:
The key issue that so many anti-money laundering (AML) regulated professionals miss is that the Regulations exist primarily so SAR reports can be made whenever necessary. Thereafter, law enforcement can decide whether the report potentially adds further evidence to a situation they are already aware of, or reports a new situation.
The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) estimates that 2%-5% of the global GDP is laundered, which amounts to over £37bn in the UK alone.
This, and the associated criminal activities, are more of a threat than many UK accountancy firms appear to believe. To support this claim, HM Treasury’s National Risk Assessments for money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF), which includes proliferation financing (PF), has found that lack of awareness of these risks contributes significantly to the sector’s increased risk of exposure.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 created an offence of not reporting knowledge or suspicions of these illegal activities. But if you’re not aware of what to look out for, you won’t spot them to report them.
What is suspicious activity?
You’ll already be aware of what money laundering and terrorist financing are. As a brief recap…
Money laundering is doing almost anything - or planning to do almost anything - with money or goods that are the proceeds of crime. It’s a term that’s rumoured to have its origins in the prohibition era, when Al Capone used laundromats to hide the origin of money gained from the sale of alcohol.
Whether or not this is true, criminals are highly likely to ‘clean’ ill-gotten gains by using legitimate businesses to put a distance between a crime and the proceeds gained from it.
The funds associated with terrorist financing may relate to funds from a legitimate source or from criminal activity. The funds are obtained with the intention of financing terrorism.
In September 2022, counter-proliferation financing was added to your legal obligations. The Financial Action Task Force defines proliferation financing as:
"the act of providing funds or financial services which are used, in whole or in part, for the manufacture, acquisition, possession, development, export, trans-shipment, brokering, transport, transfer, stockpiling or use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons and their means of delivery and related materials (including both technologies and dual use goods used for non-legitimate purposes), in contravention of national laws or, where applicable, international obligations.”
This is an intentionally broad definition. PF applies to financing every part of the supply chain.
Suspicious activity reports
Your firm must appoint a member of senior management to hold the role of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), also known as the Nominated Officer (NO). This is the person that employees and agents need to make an internal report to.
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (The Regulations) require every regulated business to have steps in place that enable each relevant employee and agent to identify and report suspicious activity to the firm’s MLRO.
The ultimate purpose of your firm’s AML activity - from its policies, controls and procedures to client due diligence (CDD) and risk assessments - is to create an environment where ML, TF, and PF can be detected, prevented and reported. SAR reports made by your MLRO to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in the National Crime Agency (NCA) are the result of this AML work.
It’s your MLRO’s responsibility to decide whether a SAR is necessary. If you’re a sole practitioner, you’re your own MLRO and so should make a report to the NCA directly.
The more information the SAR provides, the more helpful it is to law enforcement. You should be routinely monitoring your clients’ risk and keeping up to date with any changes in their circumstances or transactions. This will enable you to give the NCA valuable information.
Investigations often include multiple SARs from different sources. So although you may feel your report will not add much information, it could prove to be the missing piece to a much larger scenario.
Remember a principal reason for identifying and verifying the identity of clients, and keeping this up to date, is to enable current information to be passed on to the NCA as part of a SAR report.
Reducing risk in your firm
It may seem unlikely that your client will be involved in criminal activity. The generally held belief is that these are the kinds of cases other people experience. But it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to approach a firm to request more information on an investigation into a client that seems completely legitimate. Don’t forget: criminals will work exceptionally hard to appear to be a ‘normal’ client.
This is where your AML policies, controls and procedures can save you from becoming part of the investigation. Every employee and agent must be trained in these, as well as in AML, CTF and CPF.
Your protection starts with having these policies, controls and procedures in place, to empower all of your business’ employees to detect, prevent and report any knowledge, or suspicion, of money laundering or other related criminal activity.
Client due diligence (CDD), including a comprehensive risk assessment, needs to be undertaken during the onboarding process, whenever circumstances change, and regularly for the duration of the business’ relationship with the client. You must ensure you properly identify the ultimate beneficial owner of a business, which is vital to determining the client’s level of risk and the requirement for enhanced due diligence measures.
You legally need to include a sanctions check in this process too. It’s only by knowing who your client really is, and the nature of their financial activity, that you can make an accurate assessment of their risk.
Recent reforms of Companies House give it increased powers to query and challenge information submitted to it. So thoroughly checking for inconsistencies on the companies register has become even more important.
Lastly, the more detailed records you keep of your AML activities, the more protected your firm is. If you keep clear records and documents, your supervisor and law enforcement will be able to see that you’ve taken the best approach. This could shield you from fine, loss of reputation and even criminal prosecution.
About Richard Simms
Richard Simms, MD of FASimms and AMLCC, is a licensed insolvency practitioner, chartered accountant and a leading authority on anti-money laundering. He is a sought-after guest at accountancy and AML conferences worldwide due to his position at the pulse of changes in guidance and legislation that impact DNFBPs.