The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), which is based within the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was created recently with the purpose of working with all of the UK’s anti-money laundering supervisors in order to improve AML standards and compliance as well as cooperation with law enforcement. The OPBAS will oversee the 22 UK AML organizations to ensure that the Money Laundering Regulations of 2017 are met and they also have the power to investigate and enforce penalties for those supervising bodies that do not uphold these high standards. However, the OPBAS will not directly monitor the businesses that these UK AML organizations oversee.
According to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glenn; “This new watchdog will deepen the government’s partnership with the private sector as we work together to tackle illicit finance whilst minimizing the burdens on legitimate businesses. This sends a clear message to criminals and terrorists that their dirty money is not welcome here.”
The OPBAS is only the UK’s latest step in reforming its AML regime and it stems from the UK’s 2016 Action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
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