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Tackling money laundering

HM Treasury has announced that a new watchdog is to be established to help tackle potential weaknesses in the supervisory system that criminals may be trying to exploit. The new office for professional body anti-money laundering supervision (OPBAS) is expected to be operational from the start of next year. The new watchdog will be tasked with improving the overall standards of anti-money laundering supervision and will work closely to enhance the interaction between supervisors and law enforcement.The establishment of OPBAS complements the introduction of the draft money laundering regulations which are expected to come into force by 26 June 2017. These regulations set out new standards to help ensure that the UK’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regime is kept up to date, is effective and is proportionate. The updated money laundering regulations will also provide clarity for firms on how they should treat politically exposed persons.The government will also work to approve one piece of anti-money laundering guidance for each sector to reduce and simplify the amount of guidance businesses need to follow. The OPBAS will be housed within the FCA and will operate within the FCA’s existing governance arrangements. The new watchdog will be funded by a new fee on professional body anti-money laundering supervisors.Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘The new Money Laundering Regulations and the new Office for Professional Body AML Supervision will bring the UK’s anti-money laundering regime into line with the latest international standards, and ensure consistently high standards of supervision across all sectors, sending a strong message that money laundering and terrorist financing should not and will not be tolerated.’