In March 2017, the Government announced its intention to create the Office for Professional Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) as a new function within the FCA. The Government proposed that OPBAS oversee the adequacy of the anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory arrangements of 22 professional bodies.

The FCA has now published Guidance Consultation 17/7: Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision: a sourcebook for professional body supervisors (GC17/7). GC17/7 proposes text for a specialist sourcebook for professional body supervisors that sets out expectations in relation to AML supervision. The draft text of the specialist sourcebook is set out in Appendix 1. The sourcebook discusses how professional body supervisors should carry out their AML work and provides further details on the requirements for professional supervisors in the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. It draws on existing resources, such as the European Supervisory Authorities’ recent guidance on risk-sensitive supervision, and material already prepared by UK AML supervisors, such as the risk-based approach guidance agreed by the AML Supervisors’ Forum members in 2008.

The FCA has also published a letter to relevant professional bodies that includes a description of the supervisory approach the regulator intends OPBAS to adopt once it is operational. This includes:

  • developing a sound understanding of the workings of the different organisations and sectors they will scrutinise;
  • adopting a risk-based approach to supervision that concentrates its supervisory resources where the risk is greatest; and
  • liaise with other bodies with oversight roles for the professionals to share good practice and avoid supervisory conflicts.

The deadline for comments on GC17/7 is 23 October 2017. The finalised guidance is due to come into effect on 1 January 2018. The FCA will consult on an approach to levying fees from professional body supervisors in autumn 2017.

View FCA guidance consultation on Office for Professional Anti-Money Laundering Supervision, 24 July 2017