UK compliance professionals are bracing for an increase in AML legislation
Nearly four fifths (78%) of compliance professionals across the UK’s regulated industries predict more anti-money laundering (AML) regulation is on the way as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union, according to new research released today by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, the global data and analytics provider.
Based on a survey of over 875 compliance professionals across banks, lenders, wealth management, accounting, gambling, legal and real estate, today’s figures are the first to reveal predictions from all corners of regulated industries regarding future UK AML regulation following Brexit.
The UK recently decided to opt out of transposing the EU’s 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6MLD) due to many of its requirements being already covered by existing UK law. This decision has overwhelming support from the industry, with 81% of those surveyed agreeing it was the right decision. However, as our research shows, firms are taking it as a signal that the UK is seeking to diverge further from EU AML regulations, and create its own.
Nina Kerkez, director of UK&I Consulting at LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, comments: “As a result of Brexit, we have seen the regulator increase powers to implement more effective regulation which is well suited to the changing needs of the UK, and it’s encouraging to see support from the regulated industries as we diverge from the EU’s approach to AML regulations.
We are likely to see increased regulation on the horizon as the regulator flexes its new-found muscles and this autonomy will allow the regulator to tailor controls to the UK’s specific needs when it comes to tackling money laundering. However, they cannot ignore recent revelations that professionals are already struggling to keep up with what is expected of them when it comes to AML regulatory compliance.”
Compliance professionals across banks, lenders, wealth management, accounting, gambling, legal and real estate recently revealed that they’re on average only 60% of the way through their 5MLD implementation plans, despite the regulation coming into force on January 2020.
With a majority of firms already struggling to meet current AML requirements, predictions of regulatory obligations increasing following Brexit, combined with an apparent step-up in regulatory clampdowns seen recently, are likely to be highly concerning for regulated businesses across the country.
Nina Kerkez, concluded: “This combination of the increasing regulatory burden, a heightened threat of regulator action, and a majority of firms struggling with implementing effective AML controls is a perfect storm of issues that could threaten to further hamper efforts to prevent money laundering to pervade through the UK financial system.”
“We know that the majority of firms (66%) share the belief that 5MLD will have a positive impact, but almost all firms (92%) say they need more guidance on how to implement more effective, risk-based AML controls. This needs to be a rallying call for UK regulators and supervisors to combine their efforts and work together with the industry to ensure they have the right processes, tools and technology in place to stand a chance of effectively detecting and deterring money laundering in all its forms. As part of this, there needs to be a deliberate move away from manual processes, towards automating those due diligence checks that can be automated and focussing experienced staff on real risk-based analysis.”