The Law Society of Scotland and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are working together to make sure there is a united approach to anti-money laundering (AML) supervision across Scotland, England and Wales.
A memorandum of understanding to make sure there is a lead regulator for AML supervision where firms have a presence both in Scotland and in England and Wales has been agreed, primarily based on the location of law firms’ registered offices.
Graham Mackenzie, Head of AML at the Law Society of Scotland said, “As the legal landscape continues to evolve, an increasing number of firms operate both north and south of the border and it is essential that we have clarity on where regulatory responsibilities for these firms lie.”
Colette Best, SRA Director, Money Laundering, added: “Keeping the proceeds of criminal activity out of the profession remains a priority for us. Money laundering is not a victimless crime. We already work closely with many other organisations to minimise the risk to legal services, so it makes sense to further strengthen arrangements with the Law Society of Scotland to make sure we continue with a unified approach to financial crime.”
The 2017 Money Laundering Regulations dictate that where ‘there is more than one supervisory authority for a relevant person, the supervisory authorities may agree that one of them will act as the supervisory authority for that person’.
Firms whose registered offices are in Scotland will be supervised for AML compliance by the Law Society of Scotland and the SRA will supervise firms whose registered offices are in England or Wales.