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UK Stiffens Money Laundering Regulations

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

21 November 2007


The UK's HMRC has issued advice for Trust and Company Service Providers on changes resulting from new money laundering regulations coming into effect in December this year.

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require TCSPs to put in place anti-money laundering controls from 15th December 2007. This means businesses will have to be able to:

  • Carry out checks on their customers’ identities;
  • Identify the risk of money laundering posed by a customer; and
  • Report suspicious activity to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

TCSP’s include:

  • recruitment agencies, involved in arranging for someone to act as either a permanent or interim director, shadow director or company secretary or partner of a partnership;
  • company formation agents;
  • suppliers of accommodation or correspondence addresses;
  • telephone answering services for businesses other than sole proprietors; and
  • people acting or arranging for others to act as professional trustees including will writers and family offices.

The new regulations also require that if such a provider is not already supervised by the Financial Services Authority, or a professional body listed in the regulations has not agreed to supervise all relevant activities, they will need to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). In addition, any person who runs or owns the business, and any nominated officer or money laundering reporting officer, will need to apply for a new fit and proper test designed to make it more difficult for criminals to get access to this sector.

HMRC estimates that as many as 10,000 TCSPs will need to familiarise themselves with the new regulations, so is urging anyone who is likely to be affected by these changes to start preparing now.

HMRC’s Business Director Money Laundering Regulations, Melissa Tatton, said: “The Money Laundering Regulations aim to safeguard firms from abuse by criminals, while also making it easy to comply, with the minimum impact on business.”

“It is in everyone’s interest to ensure effective anti-money laundering controls and sufficient scrutiny is in place. The changes aren’t far away, so if you haven’t started preparing for 15 December, you need to do so now.”

Under existing money laundering regulations, HMRC already supervises money service businesses (MSBs) and high value dealers (HVDs) to ensure they comply. The new regulations extend this supervision to TCSPs as well as accountancy service providers (ASPs). ASPs, MSBs and TCSPs will all need to register with HMRC unless they are already supervised by a designated professional body. HVDs are already required to register with HMRC.

Information on the new Money Laundering Regulations is available at the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/mlr or through the National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000.


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