My short AML survey is still live (until 31 March 2017) so please do have a go if you haven’t yet: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VM62T6K
Oooo, you know how a love a good consultation, and this week I’ve been enjoying one close to home: the UK government’s call for thoughts on the draft (wait for it – it’s a biggie) Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. Yes, that’s inflation for you: we’ve gone from the snappily-named Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to that. I’ll talk more about other aspects of the consultation in later posts, I’m sure, but right up front I have told them how much I dislike that title.
It’s not just on aesthetic grounds, although it is plug-ugly. What they have done is meld together two only slightly related sets of obligations. Of course we need AML/CFT regs, and of course we need TOF regs, but not in the same document. I’ll tell you what I’ve said in my response to the consultation: “This now sounds like a piece of technical legislation rather than an expression of high-level anti-crime principles. Although the two subjects – AML and identification of payer – are related, they are no more related than AML and any other aspect of due diligence, and pushing them together like this is misleading, and suggests (incorrectly) that identification of payer is the most important part of due diligence. Plus, there is so little on Transfer of Funds in the legislation, and yet it hijacks the title and is given equal (and mealy-mouthed) billing.”
So what are they playing at? Well, in recent times the UK government has talked big about reducing regulation in all sorts of areas; indeed, it was one of the key selling points of the Brexit argument that we could ditch shedloads of EU-derived regulation. And what better way – on paper at least – to reduce the number of regulations than by stuffing two sets of them into one piece of legislation? Of course, it does not reduce the regulatory burden – but it halves the number of regulations. Magic!