To bolster the fight against money laundering, the UK launched a new regulator today that to oversee industry supervisors; and, European regulators issued guidance on the use of innovative technologies to comply with rules in this area.
The U.K. Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) began operations Tuesday.
OPBAS is a new regulator set up to strengthen the United Kingdom’s anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory regime, and aims to ensure consistent, high oversight standards among AML supervisors, including the organizations that oversee accountants, tax professionals, and lawyers in certain jurisdictions. However, it does not directly oversee these firms.
The launch of OPBAS is part of a wider set of reforms designed to strengthen the U.K. AML regime, which took effect on Jan. 18. The new regulator operates under the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will facilitate collaboration and information sharing between the AML supervisors, statutory regulators, and law enforcement.
Separately, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities on Tuesday issued an opinion that aims to provide guidance on how financial firms can use innovative solutions to comply with customer due diligence obligations, as part of their AML efforts.
Among other things, it clarifies how firms can use technology such as biometrics and facial recognition to confirm client identity; along with automated transaction monitoring processes. The guidance aims to ensure consistency among the various regulators in their approach to innovative solutions that may improve the effectiveness and efficiency of AML compliance. It also highlights risks associated with these kinds of solutions, and the sorts of internal controls that firms need when employing innovative solutions.