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FLA voices concern on ‘laundering’ rules

Tougher regulations targeting money laundering will be introduced by the government on December 15 as it steps up measures to fight terrorist financing.

The measures will affect dealers licensed to act as finance advisers and FLA director general Stephen Sklaroff has concerns about some aspects of the measures, although he broadly welcomes them.

“We are pleased the government has listened to many of our concerns and adopted a risk-based approach in line with good regulatory principles,” said Sklaroff.

“However, we are concerned that responsibility for supervision will sit with a number of separate authorities adopting different approaches. We call on supervisors to co-ordinate their efforts to ensure consistency of enforcement.”

Since March 2004, dealers have faced fines of up to £5,000 if they fail to comply with regulations to stop crime-related money entering the economy.

Dealers who want to take cash payments for goods worth more than E15,000 (about £10,200) have to register with HM Revenue & Customs.

Motor finance specialists are studying the new rules announced in late July by treasury economic secretary Kitty Ussher.

“These regulations will further strengthen the UK’s defences against money laundering and terrorist finance,” said Ussher.

“They introduce tough and targeted measures where the risks are greatest. At the same time, they ensure that businesses and consumers in low risk situations face fewer burdens.”

The number of identity checks will be reduced, with firms being able to rely on those carried out by some other firms, including FSA-authorised financial advisers and solicitors.

Greater flexibility will be introduced to record-keeping rules so firms keep only the important details.

Regulations will be tightened by extending supervision to all businesses in the regulated sector to secure greater compliance with anti-money laundering controls. Included from December will be estate agents, trust and company service providers and consumer credit businesses.

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