UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation over the
supervisory approach to be adopted by the new Office for Professional Body
Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS).
The government announced its
intention to create OPBAS as a function within the FCA in March and last
week published draft regulations which will give powers to the new
OPBAS will supervise 22
professional bodies affected by anti-money laundering (AML) requirements,
including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Law
Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar
Council and the Bar Standards Board, and similar bodies in Scotland and
It will have information gathering
powers, the power to commission independent reports, and direction issuing
powers. OPBAS will be able to review professional body supervisors and will
take over the collection of annual AML questionnaires, which are currently
submitted to the Treasury.
If a professional supervisory body
falls short of its standards, OPBAS will have a range of powers including the
ability to recommend that a body be removed from its supervisory role.
consultation suggests that additional costs incurred through the creation
of OPBAS are likely to be passed on to professionals via increased fees.
The FCA is asking for responses to
its consultation on issues including the proposed sourcebook for professional
body supervisors with regard to OPBAS, and the cost-benefit analysis of the new
body, by 23 October.