In any regulated firm with more than a couple of staff and more than a handful of clients, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to monitor compliance solely using paper-based records. Most people think that all that is required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations is to perform an ID check, such as copying a passport and utility bill or electronic verification, on client personnel. Unfortunately this alone is not sufficient to comply.
The new "Anti Money Laundering Compliance Plus" software deals with the whole raft of compliance, including inbuilt electronic ID checks if required. The software has been developed by BHIS Limited, the authors of “PC Share Register Plus”, company secretarial software, in conjunction with SWAT UK Limited, a leading provider of UK Money Laundering Compliance expertise, who also provide the "Expert Guidance" on AML procedures within the software.
Since the Money Laundering Regulations came into force, SWAT UK has conducted hundreds of compliance visits to accountancy firms of all sizes across the UK. In doing so, they have regularly come across firms who are fully aware of the regulations, but are failing to implement fully the correct compliance procedures. Not only could this give them issues to address during any monitoring visit by their relevant professional body, it could lead to potential money laundering activities slipping through the net if adequate procedures are not being implemented.
The Anti Money Laundering Compliance Plus software enables accountants, solicitors and other regulated
businesses to perform all aspects of compliance recording and monitoring. There is a built-in facility to do
electronic ID checks, using data supplied by the GB Group. The software is fully integrated with BHIS’ PC Share Register Plus software, and links directly to Companies House and HM Treasury’s Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions and Targets in the UK. Furthermore, to avoid re-keying client data, the software enables firms to easily import client records from their existing databases. Users can also set reminders to review client ID evidence at regular intervals depending on the level of risk they have set individual clients.
Ian Burgess, Managing Director of BHIS said “Our aim has been to develop a simple to use and cost effective piece of software that provides a complete solution to money laundering compliance. Feedback from firms that have beta tested the product confirms that we have achieved that. We are confident that the software will make a huge difference to the way firms implement their ML procedures.”
Mike Sturgess, Managing Director of SWAT UK, heads up SWAT UK’s money laundering technical team. He added, “Most professional firms have hundreds if not thousands of clients. Many succeed in obtaining the initial evidence when they get a new client, but fail to keep it up to date which is required. However, the biggest problem area seems to be meeting all the requirements in respect of long established clients. Most firms admit that they are not 100 per cent compliant with the regulations, but if you ask them which clients need to be updated they don’t know without going through every client one by one. One of the key benefits of the software is it uses symbols such as green ticks, amber light bulbs and red crosses to identify precisely which clients are fully compliant, are due to be updated or are non-compliant.”
Further details about the software and how it can simplify a regulatory compliance burden for firms, can be found at www.amlcplus.co.uk.
Notes for editors:
Initially the Money Laundering Regulations only affected banks, insurance companies and financial advisers.
However new Regulations came into force from March 2004 and were subsequently replaced by the 2007 Regulations. These brought a host of other professionals and other businesses into the regulated sector. This included solicitors, barristers, accountants, tax advisers, insolvency practitioners, surveyors and estate agents. Any business that accepts cash of more than €15,000 (Euros) for goods (such as a car, boat, painting etc.) also has to register. Once in the regulated sector firms have to obtain evidence to confirm the identity of any clients for whom they do regulated work. This would include services such as solicitors providing legal advice on property or financial transactions; accountants undertaking audits, preparing accounts, completing tax returns or advising on tax; or surveyor or estate agents helping to sell or buy a property. They not only have to confirm the existence of any entity (company, trust, charity etc.) but also have to obtain evidence for key individuals who run or own the entity.
The Regulations (alongside the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) also provide a personal obligation to anyone
working within the regulated sector to report knowledge or suspicion of money laundering. Since money
laundering includes offences such as tax evasion, benefit fraud and fraudulent mortgage applications as well as drug trafficking and terrorist financing, it is highly likely that firms will encounter suspicious activity and have to report. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
For further information and to download a free evaluation copy of the software, visit www.amlcplus.co.uk
BHIS Limited is a UK software company specialising in software for accountants, solicitors and company
secretaries. Its company secretarial software, "PC Share Register Plus" is currently used by over 1,500 firms.
SWAT UK Limited is one of the most successful, long established accountancy training and consultancy
providers within the UK.
Contact information: Or
Phone: 0844 351 1251
B H I S Limited
Manor House, 58 Manor Wood Road, Purley, Surrey, CR8 4LF, U.K.
A company registered in England and Wales - company number 03264663
Telephone: 0844 351 1251 Fax: 020 7117 1047 Internet: www.bhis.co.uk