Comments from Richard Grint, a financial services expert at PA Consulting Group, have been included in Douglas Clarke-Williams’ article in Payments Compliance on the Anti-Corruption Strategy and launch of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), which will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing anti-corruption and anti-money laundering (AML) efforts across the UK.
Richard welcomed the measure as tidying up a currently rather congested area of oversight. “The biggest criticism that could have previously been levelled at the UK prior to this announcement is that it has so many disparate parts of the infrastructure that focus on various different element of financial crime,” he says.
“From HM Treasury for sanctions, to the SFO, HM Revenue & Customs for tax evasion, the Financial Conduct Authority and the institutions they regulate, the National Crime Agency and local law enforcement,” Richard continues.
“So you’ve got a whole mix of bodies, and actually having a place to draw everything together with a bit more centralised coordination with some fairly hefty analytics behind it is a really good thing just from the perspective of greater coordination and insight.”
Other bodies pointed to the opacity of offshore British territories as an issue which needed to be resolved before any effective domestic AML action could take place, as highlighted by the Panama Papers and, more recently, the Paradise Papers.
“To a certain extent it’s an understandable criticism, but it’s an area that is notoriously difficult to approach and ultimate beneficial ownership identification across relatively opaque territories is difficult to do,” Richard says. “So I’m unsure if they’re just focusing on the areas where they can achieve the greatest benefit or if it’s an area of separate focus for the near future or more medium term.”
Read the full article here in Payments Compliance.