Research Reveals Legal Profession Exposed to Penalties From
Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
*Yet three-quarters of practices view money laundering to be a serious threat*
UK, 26th September 2008. The legal profession in England and Wales continues to validate the identity of clients with methods that do not fully comply with the 2007 Money Laundering Regulations, despite nearly three-quarters viewing money laundering as a serious threat, reveals new independent research released today.
The report, Money Laundering Regulations 2007: the impact on solicitors and conveyancers, commissioned by online property search specialist TM Group and legal training provider Central Law Training, polled 160 legal and conveyancing professionals on the subject of anti-money laundering.
The research also reveals that over a third of legal professionals do not consider the anti-money laundering regulations (AML) to be necessary, with some concerned about the time and cost implications. In fact, a high number - 67% - have been directly impacted by the new regulations, with nearly 1 in 4 incurring costs as a result of retraining staff.
Commenting on the research, Nick Dyoss at TM Group says: “Despite the seriousness of the threat, the majority of legal professionals continue to validate the identity of clients with methods that do not fully comply with the new regulations. Over 65% of those surveyed still rely upon a visual check of photo ID and utility bills as their only method of identification and are therefore falling short of ‘best practice’ and exposing themselves to the penalties outlined in the legislation.”
Even so, 83% of respondents are confident that their systems would pick up fraudulent activity; a surprising figure given the high proportion of those still using manual methods of identification.
According to the research the legal profession is however taking positive action, with 75% having trained all staff in AML and a further 40% having a specially trained AML compliance officer.
Nick Dyoss continues: “The research has revealed that practices are increasingly aware of their responsibilities but are concerned about the time and cost implications of the new regulations. The regulations stipulate a ‘risk based’ approach to verifying the identity of clients. Electronic identity verification supplements manual ID checks and makes it difficult for a criminal to predict what information will be checked and removes the intensive paperwork that comes with more traditional verification procedures.”
For a free copy of the research report Money Laundering Regulations 2007: the impact on solicitors and conveyancers please email AMLresearch@tmproperty.co.uk.
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About TM Group
TM Property Service Ltd (TM) and Search Choice Ltd are wholly owned subsidiaries of TM Group Holdings Ltd. TM was the first licensed provider of National Land Information Service (NLIS) property searches and with over eight years experience continues to create and deliver innovative technological solutions to enable professionals involved in property transactions to order searches and access all the necessary reports and information online quickly and easily through a single portal.
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