All change for financial crime regulation

The next 12 months will be a busy period in the financial crime arena. While important legislative developments such as the Fourth Money Laundering Directive have been in gestation for a number of years, recent events have no doubt heavily influenced the current agenda. The Panama Papers Affair has increased the focus on transparency issues and the risks arising from the use of so-called offshore tax havens.

The recent spate of terrorist attacks in mainland Europe has also had an impact, particularly through the proposal for a Fifth Money Laundering Directive, which also addresses issues arising from the use of technology and virtual currencies in the payments sector.

In addition, the UK government has been keen to tighten up the UK’s anti-money laundering (“AML”) regime. The Financial Conduct Authority, which is also the AML supervisor for the financial services sector, has warned that where firms have poor controls, it will impose restrictions on their businesses to limit the level of AML risk and, if failings are particularly serious or repeated, it will consider prosecution.

The world of financial sanctions has also not been immune from change. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 gives the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation a new power to impose civil monetary penalties on transgressors, which will make taking enforcement action easier and therefore more frequent. And the new EU Market Abuse Regulation (596/2014) continues to bed down since its transposition on 3 July 2016.

All these and further developments are summarized in our recent contribution to the Thomson Reuters Compliance Officer Bulletin. Please feel free to leave us a comment below if you have any further questions.

Mark Simpson is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Financial Services Group in London, specializing in advising financial institutions on regulatory and compliance matters.
Nina Moffatt
Nina Moffat is a member of baker McKenzie's Financial Services and Regulation Group. She advises firms on their compliance with UK regulatory obligations, including consumer credit, payment services and electronic money, banking and insurance mediation regulation, anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing obligations and anti-bribery and anti-corruption issues.
Richard Powell is a professional support lawyer within Baker McKenzie's global financial services group where he is responsible for supporting the group's legal and technical knowledge.

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