SRA AML questionnaire – are you ready to answer these 13 questions?
Law firms subject to the Money Laundering Regulations will shortly be required to submit an SRA AML questionnaire.
The COLP will receive a link to complete the questionnaire in June, with a deadline of 31 July 2022.
Do not assume that the Money Laundering Compliance Officer or MLRO will also receive the link.
The purpose of the questionnaire is to feed risk information to the regulator. They want know which firms pose a higher risk for money laundering. The implication is that higher risk firms will receive closer supervision – for example, targeted visits and audits.
Since some of these questions require an element of data collection, you should start compiling your responses now. Late or non-existent filings could be an indicator of a firm without a good grip on AML compliance.
What the SRA intends to tackle with its wellbeing consultation
In December’s webinar, we predicted the top compliance topics of 2022. Wellbeing and culture made it into the Top 10.
Workplace culture ties into equality and diversity, as well as recent cases involving sexual misconduct and junior lawyer strike offs.
Chinese underground banking – a compliance risk hiding in plain sight
By Rachael Eyre
The Law Society recently held a webinar on Chinese Underground Banking. Speakers included representatives from the National Economic Crime Centre, the NCA, the Law Society of Scotland and the SRA.
How many solicitors are aware of the risks of dealing with money subject to currency restrictions?
Do your staff know where to get support?
We thought it would be a good time to share more information about their work.
News and Guidance
Law Society Updates
- Feature: Shaking up SLAPPs – time for action
- Press release: Safeguards needed to offset exponential rise in regulator fining powers
- Guidance: Solicitors undertaking regulated claims management activities and immigration activities
- Press release: Updated plans on financial penalties following consultation feedback
- ICO enforcement: ICO fines facial recognition database company Clearview AI Inc £7.5m and orders UK data to be deleted
- Gazette: SRA should keep costs protection, Supreme Court rules
Recording: Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) – what you need to know
Our live webinar this week covered the changes to solicitor qualification brought in last year.
The session covered:
- why has the process of qualification changed?
- what does the process look like now?
- how do individuals apply?
- what do firms need to do?
- what should you look out for?
You can find the slides here.
The Zoom recording is here (password: 6=yL#Y+?)
Next session: Legal Professional Privilege
Our next live webinar will be very special. We are going to be joined by Jeremy Phillips QC to talk about the thorny issue of legal privilege.
The compliance world is sometimes guilty of glossing over the importance of privilege. For example, the interplay between reporting suspicious activity under AML legislation and LPP. The Proceeds of Crime Act expressly protects privileged circumstances, but the solicitor needs to be confident that it applies.
Join us live on 15 June 2o22 at 12pm on Zoom. Invitation to follow to all those on the mailing list.
- Peter Walmsley – rebuked for taking female trainee to a strip club
- Rebecca Hawksley – suspended for six months for failing to keep proper accounts
- Jeremy Bouch – GC fined £2,000 for instructing law firm of close friend and relative, without disclosing this fact to his employer client
- Claire Wilson – rebuked following drink driving conviction
- Rusty Adams – non-lawyer struck off for misleading a client he could undertake divorce work
- Ahmed Mohammed Hersi – fined £2,000 for failing to pay counsel’s fees and comply with a related county court order
- Paul Young – struck off paralegal jailed for three years for stealing over £400k from law firm