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On the 15th March 2017, the UK Government announced the creation of a new watchdog for anti-money laundering.
Named the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), it aims to tackle the methods of financial criminals by both stepping up standards of anti-money laundering (AML) supervision and closing loopholes in guidance that can be exploited to move illicit funds.
The UK Government’s ‘Action Plan for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing’, released in April 2016, included an objective to review and improve the effectiveness of AML and CTF supervision. Subsequently, between April and June 2016, HM Treasury undertook a review of the UK AML / CTF supervisory regime. The review involved an audit of the FCA, Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A key theme running through the review was a lack of consistency and potential confusion caused by the number of supervisory bodies overseeing firms’ activity in this area. It also referred to the guidance provided by legal and accounting firms, which is sometimes conflicting in its message.
All of this has the potential to create loopholes that criminals can exploit – as such there is a need to seek a more consistent approach to both supervision and guidance. OPBAS will seek to better unify the various industry, regulatory and legislative approaches.
OPBAS will have overall responsibility for the various supervisory organisations involved to ensure consistency of approach.
It will also set out how these bodies can comply with supervisory standards once they are updated to incorporate requirements of the EU’s 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD), due to be implemented by the UK on the 26th July 2017.
More specifically, OPBAS’s objectives are to:
OPBAS is due to be legislated for by the end of this year and operational from the start of 2018, and we can anticipate new guidance to be released shortly after this.
OPBAS will become operational several months after the updated money laundering regulations are implemented, but firms will not want to wait until this time to make sure they are compliant.
The new office will sit within the FCA and operate in line with its existing governance structure. AML supervision is already an area of strong focus for regulators and was earmarked as a priority by the FCA in its 2016 / 17 Business Plan as it looked to broaden its Systematic Anti-Money Laundering Programme (SAMLP). This focus will increase into 2017 / 18.
Not only is the focus increasing in terms of regulatory output; the level of insight FCA receives back on these issues continues to increase with the implementation of REP-CRIM financial crime reporting in January 2017. This extra insight being gained by regulators will serve to enhance their view – this may manifest itself in further changes to supervision, and firms will need to continue to keep abreast of any developments.
The creation of OPBAS will mean increased scrutiny of professional AML supervisory bodies in terms of how they supervise AML and CTF compliance. This will create a knock-on effect for firms themselves, which could quickly feel the effects of this closer supervision. Following some uncertainty in terms of AML guidance from a supervisory point of view, the intention of regulators will be to ensure enforcement action is taken should deficiencies be identified – this has been a well-documented challenge in the current regulatory environment.
With the Government response on how money laundering regulations will be incorporated due in April, supervisory bodies may arguably be left with little time to interpret the regulations and revise their rules and guidance for firms in time for the 26th July and 4AMLD. This could in turn challenge firms’ ability to prepare for the changes. Staying abreast of developments in this space with the aim of prompt but proportionate action (when appropriate) should be firms’ current focus.
To help with your Anti-Money Laundering procedures as well as other Compliance support services, please contact us on 0203 815 7939
A common misconception is that the suitability report has to ‘round up’ the whole process, discussions and background information that has occurred to date. It doesn’t. It simply forms part of the process of telling the story and, from a compliance perspective, will be read in conjunction with the rest of the data and information contained within the file.
This is good news. It means we can legitimately start taking ‘superfluous’ information out of the suitability report and make it shorter and more client-friendly.
Based on the regulators Principle 9 (customers: relationships of trust) “A firm must take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of its advice and discretionary decisions for any customer who is entitled to rely upon its judgement.”
In conjunction to that, and by extension, COBS 9.2.1 R states;
“(1) A firm must take reasonable steps to ensure that a personal recommendation, or a decision to trade, is suitable for its client.
(2) When making the personal recommendation or managing his investments, the firm must obtain the necessary information regarding the client’s:
(a) knowledge and experience in the investment field relevant to the specific type of designated investment or service;
(b) financial situation; and
(c) investment objectives;
so as to enable the firm to make the recommendation, or take the decision, which is suitable for him.”
More recently, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has reiterated its advice to IFA’s to make suitability reports as tailored and personalised to the client as possible.
Richard Thompson, FOS principal ombudsman, speaking at the Money Marketing Interactive conference in May 2017, outlined how advisers should present a defence at the FOS when faced with a complaint. He said: “The more you can do to personalise and tailor that documentation, that suitability report around the customer and their circumstances, the better placed you will be to defend in the event that someone does wish to bring a complaint.”
While he admitted that “standard documentation always has its place” to help clarity or understanding for consumers, it also had its “limitations”.
Compliance Consultant has been championing the reduction of Suitability Report Length and rationalising the content to flow better and be more relevant. Founder and CEO of Compliance Consultant, Lee Werrell, said that
“Members of Networks and those using standardised ‘off-the-shelf’ compliance providers are given a bland, comprehensive and rigid suitability report template, based on the ancient ‘tied-agent’ model of command and control. This is so out of date in today’s relationship selling methodology that all the report does is take up the advisers time and contains mainly dross that used to be considered as ‘covering one’s backside’.”
Further to that, Werrell added “If you can explore and discuss the various elements of COBS9 with the client, and record their own words, you can replay it in the Suitability Report as further evidence of the client’s needs. From the fact find, file notes and through to the suitability report, there should be a flowing story; a story of demands, needs and satisfaction.”
At the conference, Thompson added that using the client’s own words in documentation was the “gold standard” when it came to best practice. He said: “It helps when we can see things in the advisers own words…The gold standard is the clients own words from what they understood then.” He also urged advisers to steer clear of jargon-heavy product information.
Compliance Consultant can conduct an audit of your firm and provide a comprehensive report setting out the work into the general areas which the FCA often express interest and which generate most concerns, incorporating the latest hotspots.
The scope of the work required by FCA visits, are, in our view, extensive and required to be delivered in a short space of time. Having all the evidence readily available, including ongoing action plans and risk identification is vital. The Compliance Consultant team is qualified to undertake this work has experience of working with many financial institutions and regulators, ranging from working at board level, senior management, line managers and directly supervising sales personnel.Call us on 020 3815 7939 for details, watch the video at https://youtu.be/z_hSI9tLCVI or go to http://wp.me/p7OMfd-vT.
An additional service we can provide is the relevant rules mapping from the FCA Handbook to your firm. Ask us for details, or go to the website via this link http://wp.me/p7OMfd-A2.
Compliance Consultant – “Making Compliance Work!”
Call us on 020 3815 7939
Poor Conduct Kills Your Strategy & Growth
Hello fellow professional
From the 26th of June 2017, the new UK Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (“MLR17”) came into force placing new legal and regulatory requirements on Estate Agency Businesses (EABs).
It is my pleasure to announce that Compliance Consultant has created a solution to help EABs get up to speed and fully comply with the new rules.
The MLR17s are an amendment to the current legislation which has been enforced since 2007. ALL EABs must comply with these requirements which also bring into force a new statutory regulator which will regulate all EABs from both a financial crime and conduct perspective. Any EAB which fails to comply with the complex regulations will face financial and legal penalties from both a company and individual level.
Who Are We?
Compliance Consultant is a specialist Governance, Risk and Compliance firm, providing advice, support and guidance to regulated and non-regulated firms since 2000. We have a range of services tailored to support firms as they operate in regulated spaces. We work with Estate Agents, Payment Service Providers, Independent Financial Advisers, Consumer Credit Act companies, Banks and Stockbrokers. We have a range of solutions, designed for both large and small firms. Compliance Consultant embeds a risk-based strategic approach into its projects and operational decision-making, enabling our clients to be assured of sustainable success.
To sum up, there are new legal and regulatory requirements on Estate Agency Businesses (EABs). Any EAB which fails to comply with the complex regulations will face financial and legal penalties from both a company and individual level.
Find out if you are affected by clicking on this link and SIGN UP to our 5-day series of pdfs covering how, what, when, where and why.
A “culture of discipline” is a phrase used by Jim Collins (Good to Great) in his study of great companies. All of the great companies, those that far outperform others, have a culture of discipline. This does not mean that they spend their time disciplining people. When you have a culture of discipline you rarely need to discipline people.
A culture of discipline is not about punishing people, but it is about control. It is about self control. Disciplined thinking leads to disciplined action. All greatness, whether it be in athletics, music, art, business, leadership, healing arts and sciences, teaching, or sales, is a result of discipline.
Whether we are talking about an individual or an organization, it all starts with the question: “Who are you and what is your purpose?” Your purpose is found at the crossroads of that which you are passionate about and that which you are good at. Once we are clear about our purpose and the kind of person and/or organization we are, then we need to discipline our thinking in order to achieve it. Thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the purpose are then nourished and expanded.
Most people, and most organizations are undisciplined. We entertain thoughts in our minds that contradict our purpose. We allow behaviors in ourselves and others that should be unacceptable. In a culture of discipline we are clear about who we are and where we are going. We address contradictions honestly, first in ourselves, and then in others, and resolve them.
A year ago I wrote in this newsletter about two very different businesses, one who has a culture of discipline and one who has not. Schulers Books and Music, a local bookstore and cafe is my example of a culture of discipline. At one of the stores I often see the manager out on the floor. Whenever a customer approaches him, he drops everything and serves the customer. I always receive cheerful and helpful service whenever I go there.
A chain restaurant I visited, called Steak and Shake, does not have a culture of discipline. I walked in to get a take out order and could not get served, or even acknowledged. I wrote to the corporate office of Steak and Shake and received a cursory reply.
The difference between these two businesses is that at Schulers, people think a certain way, and act in alignment with those key thoughts. These are thoughts about valuing customers and offering excellent service. At Steak and Shake, people are on their own. They have not been taught how to think, and thus behave, in alignment with the organization’s purpose. You may or may not get lucky and get good service. At Schuler it is not luck; it is consistent great service rooted in a culture of discipline. Embedded in this culture is a deep love for reading and for community that is evident in their consistently great service.
I worked with an organization where the senior leaders loved their work and worked very hard. They saw themselves as disciplined. Yet, they were very undisciplined. Leaders in this organization each went in their own direction. Some of them were noted for being unapproachable and cranky. Others avoided all conflict and said “yes” to everything. Another was known for flying off the handle whenever he felt threatened. All of these managers were talented people. Discipline is about practicing the thoughts and behaviors consistent with your purpose and your goals. It is about holding yourself accountable when you are inconsistent. Much of the talent and hard work of these managers was dissipated because thinking and behavior were not in alignment with purpose and values.
In a culture of discipline we live in alignment with our purpose and in accordance with our values regardless of what is happening in the world. A culture of discipline is responsive to whatever happens. A non disciplined culture has knee jerk reactions to both crisis and opportunity. This is because the motivator in these non disciplined cultures is fear. In a culture of discipline you are motivated by love–love for your purpose; love for those whom you serve; and love for your values. You live from the inside out. This makes you more stable, yet responsive to what is happening around you.
When opportunity presents itself, you don’t grab for it. You think about it. You ask: “Does this fit with my/our purpose? Is this something I/we are willing to do well? Can I/we be passionate about this?” Also, you want to know if it will contribute to your long term viability.
When crisis hits, you respond in ways that are consistent with your purpose and values. No short cuts! Collins wrote in Good to Great, that companies who stuck by their values tended to be more successful. The key, he found, was not in what values they chose, but that they stuck by their values, whatever they were.
In a culture of discipline we make a commitment to our mutual purpose and values. We refuse to allow behavior that is outside that framework. People who violate the purpose and values are given a chance to learn and to change. If they choose not to, they leave. A culture of discipline is not an authoritarian regime where one person is the enforcer. Those organizations tend to fall apart when the dictator leaves. The disciplined culture requires people to adhere to a consistent system, within which they have freedom and responsibility. In a culture of discipline we all help each other to stay on track by reminding each other through ongoing feedback and being a role model.
If you want to see if your organization has a culture of discipline, listen to the stories that are told. Are they stories of accomplishment and appreciation of the efforts of people? Or, are they stories tinged with negativity and criticism? Do people tend to be generous with credit for work well done, or do they mostly talk about what “I” did? Fear based and egocentric stories are ultimately demoralizing and feed negativity. Stories about people going out of their way to help people, and stories where credit is given to others consistently reinforce the purpose, the values, and the way of thinking that identifies the organization at its best. We discipline our minds away from negative and victim thoughts and toward thoughts of appreciation, understanding, problem resolution, and the possibilities to be found in any situation.
I must admit that I have often rebelled against discipline. I thought it would cramp my style or limit my freedom. What I have learned is that discipline enforced by a dictatorial person does cramp everyone’s style and limit freedom. Discipline agreed to by each individual does the opposite. Self discipline allows us to achieve excellence.
Discipline that grows out of a commitment to a common purpose creates a structure, a consistency that helps people to make wise choices. The unwillingness to accept poor behavior is reassuring. Employees see leaders behaving consistently and they are inspired to think and behave in alignment with purpose and values. Extensive work rules are not needed when people are already motivated.
Whether you lead an organization or just yourself, discipline will determine much of your success. Each day examine your thinking, your behavior, and your decisions. Ask: “Does this fit with my purpose? Is this a true reflection of who I am? Does this fit with my organization’s purpose and values?” Learn to say “No” to thoughts and behaviors that do not align with purpose and values. Say “Yes” to thoughts and behaviors that affirm your purpose. Thinking, and then doing the right things consistently will keep you on purpose and lead you toward greatness.
Connect the dots. Apply this information to your workplace, your church or spiritual community. your family, your neighborhood, your athletic team. Is there a common purpose that inspires your passion and commitment? Are there values you live by? Do you value and serve each other in order to achieve your common purpose? How can you create a culture of discipline without becoming a disciplinarian? How can you work with others to create an environment where people are clear and self motivated?
Complete Assistance in the preparation for the implementation of the SMR/CR can be obtained from us at Complaince Consultant Where we have experience in the banking sector from 2015/2016.
Pilates classes were designed to increase focus, remove stress and tension from the mind and the muscles and also make one’s life better through basic exercise by developing controlled movement from a strong core. Joseph Pilates originally developed his method in 1945 as mat exercises and used several pieces of apparatus to help people with improving one’s inner and outer image by feeling and looking great. Each piece of apparatus has its own set of movements and exercises and focuses on certain aspects of one’s body.
A Pilates studio uses a wide range of apparatus which most are for resistance training which allows one to choose how hard they want to work out according to their fitness level and strength. A spring is used to apply the progressive resistance so the further one stretches the spring the more resistance there will be. The most widely used apparatus in called the Reformer and is probably the most important. Pilates classes will also have apparatus such as the Cadillac or Trapeze Table, the High or Electric Chair, the Wunda Chair, the Baby Chair, the Ladder Barrel, the Spine Corrector or Step Barrel and the small barrel.
All these apparatus come with specifically designed exercises and routines which focus on certain aspects of the body which you want to improve and strengthen. In contemporary Pilates other props are used such as small weighted balls, foam Rollers, rotating disks and resistance bands. As technology improves more and more equipment tends to change but the basic principles set out by Joseph Pilates tend to stay the same. There are 2 different types of Pilates today though, the Classical/ Authentic Pilates which tries not to vary from the original teachings on Joseph Pilates and build their equipment according to his exact specifications. The classical instructors training can also usually be traced back to either Joseph Pilates himself or to one of his protégés. The Modern/ Contemporary Pilates are vary their exercises from lesson to lesson and use most modern-day equipment and exercises from around the world with the basic principles.
So whether you chose Classical or Modern Pilates they are both designed to tone one’s body and mind to work more effectively and efficiently, increasing focus, energy and overall well-being. Each Pilates studio has its own methods, classes and apparatus which the instructors have stocked or sometimes built from the teachings of Joe Pilates. Finding the right exercises and places to go are hard today because in today’s life the choices are endless and there are studios and exercise routines from around the world being offered to us with strange apparatus with names that put a smile on one’s face.
Complete Assistance in the preparation for the implementation of the SMR/CR can be obtained from us at Complaince Consultant Where we have experience in the banking sector from 2015/2016.