Government to create new anti-money laundering watchdog

The government has announced that it intends to set up a new regulatory body to combat money laundering and criminal financing in the UK.

Operating within existing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) governance arrangements, the new Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) will help to tackle ‘potential weaknesses in the supervisory system’ that criminals may seek to exploit.

Additionally, the new government watchdog will also aim to reduce and simplify the amount of anti-money laundering guidance that businesses are required to follow. The government has announced its intention to approve one piece of guidance for each sector in order to achieve this.

Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, commented: ‘The new money laundering regulations and the new OPBAS will bring the UK’s anti-money laundering regime into line with the latest international standards and ensure consistently high standards of supervision across all sectors, sending a strong message that money laundering . . . should not and will not be tolerated.’

The government revealed that the OPBAS ‘should be operational’ by the start of 2018.