Anti Money Laundering
Being in the finance industry we tend to use a lot of technical jargon, acronyms and procedures. One such procedure happens when we are requested to act for new individuals and companies.
Letter of Engagement
At the start of any professional relationship we will request a letter of engagement. This letter sets out what responsibilities of both ourselves and our client under the engagement, including what services we are going to provide and what information we would expect in order to complete the services to standard. The letter also confirms we will be carrying out identity checks.
As accountants we are required to carry out certain checks (under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on Payer) Regulations 2017) when taking on new clients, similar to those requested by solicitors or banks.
The regulations are there to help detect and if necessary report suspicious activity such as money laundering, terrorist financing and fraud.
What information do we need?
We will ask for a copy of photographic identification. This can be a copy of your driving license or passport. If you are unable to provide either of these we will then look into what other forms photographic identification we are able to accept.
We will also request your permission to carry out a credit check, this is called a soft search credit check. The purpose of this is purely to confirm your address. If the credit check comes back rejected then we will ask you to provide a utility bill in your name, confirming your address. The utility bill provided has to be issued within the last 3 months.
The copies of your photographic identification are kept on file for the duration of the business relationship. Should you no longer require our services your photographic identification will be held on file until this is destroyed, we destroy client files 6 years after we have closed your file.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) once you are no longer our client you can request these documents to be returned to you or request that they are destroyed.
All this sounds complicated but the process is relatively straight forward and necessary to ensure our rights and the rights of our clients are maintained during and after the professional engagement.
Senior Accountant at Grafton Jones