Anti-Money Laundering Reporting Requirements Imposed by English Law: Measuring Effectiveness and Gauging the Need for Reform
Final version published in  Journal of Business Law 367-397
28 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2012 Last revised: 7 Oct 2018
Date Written: February 22, 2012
The past decade has seen a flurry of legislative activity in the area of money laundering control that has resulted in ever-greater and more costly regulatory burdens being imposed on certain sectors, most notably banks and financial services providers. This article focuses on reporting requirements under which private entities must make disclosures on the activities of their clients, when such activities are suspicious. Its overall aim is to attempt to gain some insight into whether the provisions of English law that impose reporting requirements on private entities, in particular banks, are achieving the aims behind the legislation efficiently and effectively or whether there is evidence that these aims could be achieved better through a reconsideration of the law. The article examines the nature of the requirements, the justifications put forward for imposing them, the problems of measuring effectiveness against these justifications, and the difficulties of establishing a risk-based approach to enforcing the requirements. It finds that though there are clear indications that the current regime may be effective against certain types of predicate offences such as tax evasion, there is insufficient evidence to establish its effectiveness against organized crime, and argues that certain currently unavailable data needs to be collected and analyzed in order better to be able to gauge effectiveness and determine how the regime could be improved to this end. It makes suggestions as to how such data may be collected. The article concludes by indicating possible steps that could be taken towards making the regime more effective.
Keywords: anti-money laundering, suspicious activity reports, banks, risk-based approach
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