Anti-money laundering amendments to affect accountants

Changes to anti-money laundering law are set to be approved by the Privy
Council today, in a move that will give accountants equal treatment with
lawyers in making reports to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.
The change affects accountants providing ‘privileged’ services to clients in the
same way as lawyers, which means they do not have to report suspicions to NCIS.

Previously accountants had to make reports even if they provided the same
service as a lawyer.
‘This is a very specific and limited change to the qualified accountants’ duty
to report knowledge or suspicion of money laundering,’ said Karen Silcock,
chairman of the ICAEW’s money laundering working party. ‘Nothing in this change
alters the need for accountants to remain fully engaged in the fight against
financial crime and to ensure that their responsibilities are met in full.’

Institute head of business law Felicity Banks warned that the exemption affected
‘a relatively narrow range of our member services, and will need to be applied
with care’.

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