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New UK anti money laundering watchdog OPBAS to be set up by 2018

New UK anti money laundering watchdog OPBAS to be set up by 2018

The UK Government is set to get tougher on money laundering and criminal financing activities by creating new watchdog the ‘Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision’ (OPBAS). 

The body will act alongside the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as the government seeks to introduce new, stricter money laundering regulations to meet global finance standards.

The government will aim to set up OPBAS by the start of 2018, the body’s initial goal will be to iron out inconsistencies and gaps between differentiating guidelines that govern anti-money laundering (AML) efforts at tackling financial crime.

At present the UK has a combined 22 accountancy and trade bodies (including the UK Gambling Commission) that monitor and issue rules relating to AML activity throughout differing sectors.

The government has expressed concern that the plethora of AML guidelines, has made it easier for criminals to exploit loopholes. OPBAS has been set-up to bring tackle this issue by simplifying the nations AML code and practices between industries and their representative stakeholder bodies.

UK Business Minister Lord Prior said: “The Cutting Red Tape Review asked firms to identify needless, confusing or unclear bureaucracy that could constrain legitimate business and distract from the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

“We are committed to making the system work better for the majority of law-abiding British businesses. The evidence submitted from a wide range of businesses, trade bodies, NGOs and other organisations has been invaluable in developing our approach to removing unnecessary burdens while stepping up the fight against money laundering.”