SRA fines firm which failed to have AML risk assessment for four years

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has issued a fine of £4,000 against a firm that has failed to have a money laundering risk assessment in place for more than four years, according to The Law Society Gazette.

The firm, Chepstow-based Bevan-Evans & Capehorn Solicitors LLP have been fined after investigators found the practice “failed to have a documented and complaint firm-wide risk assessment in place from June 2017 to October 2021” – failing to have “sufficient regard” for the SRA’s warning notice in 2019.

This comes as the chief executive of the SRA recently stated that the demands placed on the law firms to stop money laundering will not ease up.

To avoid money laundering, businesses are already required to conduct risk assessments, with a significant number of firms having received fines in the previous year for performing them improperly. The SRA has also brought legal action against companies who falsely claimed to have a compliance risk assessment.

The SRA said that the firm failed to have in place up-to-date anti-money laundering policies, controls, and procedures to mitigate and manage the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing – saying that the firm was responsible for its own conduct which was “serious and had the potential to cause harm to the public interest and to public confidence in the legal profession”.

HMRC recently published a list of the 240 entities that make up a total of £3.2 million in fines handed out between 1st July and 31st December 2022 by HMRC for breaching Money Laundering Regulations.

New powers introduced last year increased the maximum fine that could be issued from £2,000 to £25,000 and the SRA has made use of that as the record fine for AML breaches was for £20,000 against an Oxfordshire firm in January.

2 Responses

  1. This is a serious article worthy of close study but it has spelling mistakes throughout. Strike me you someone to proofread your articles before posting!

  2. Spelling mistakes are not generally as serious as Anti Money Laundering breaches or non-disclosure of information which should be private (under Law) for which so many people appear to be unaware. We have identiified a few of these breaches – and I am most grateful to Access Compliane Trianing and Compliance for their most complete information providing lectures. The subject becomes more interesting in detail and accuracy, something often missing from those who claim to be “professional”, or acting with “integrity”. The problem is and I am guilty of this is being too trusting – of clients right through to the mercenary politicians and their Capacity for Loss ( of relevant informaition ). The proceeds of Crime Act is an invaluable read and the issues around lax or limited informaiton (due to being unaware of the Law or ignoring it ) by those who can complete forms (from DIY ers to Solicitors and Accountants) is an issue which is growing through their desire to save money . They have lost out onthe opportunity tomeet me ? or any other qualified adviser (with skill knowledge and experience ) – and where we have a comprehensive and meaningful meeting, we have to devlop a business liek strategy a PLAN with all our clients. The concept of doing it on line often fails to identify other issues or prepare a long term business relationship for a short term gain.

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