Press release

Financial red tape targeted in new review

A review to improve the effectiveness of rules designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing has been launched.

  • government commits to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of anti-money laundering regime
  • new review will target the way regulation is implemented
  • businesses are encouraged to submit evidence of over-complicated and ineffective requirements

A review to improve the effectiveness of rules designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing has been launched today (28 August 2015) as part of the government’s Cutting Red Tape review programme.

Businesses have expressed concerns that current guidance, rules and proof of identity requirements can be unnecessarily cumbersome and complicated. Inconsistency and confusion over how rules to stamp out money laundering are applied leads to a less effective regime, which disproportionately affects legitimate businesses.

The government wants these rules to protect the country and safeguard the UK’s world leading financial services industry, without putting disproportionate burdens on legitimate businesses or those companies that use their services.

This review is one of 6 chosen for the first wave of the government’s ambitious Cutting Red Tape programme, which will help towards saving businesses £10 billion over the next 5 years.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

We are committed to saving businesses a further £10 billion in red tape to help create more jobs for working people, boost productivity and keep our economy growing.

This new review is about making sure the rules we have to protect our strong financial services industry from abuse are not unintentionally holding back new and existing British business. I want firms to come forward and tell us where regulation is unclear or its enforcement ineffective.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said:

The UK is a global financial centre, and is home to some of the most successful international financial services firms in the world. But we are clear that in order to protect the integrity and stability of our world leading financial centre, we need an effective Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Finance regime.

That’s why we are leading from the front in implementing robust global standards to tackle money laundering, and that’s why we’ve launched a review today to improve the effectiveness of our Anti-Money Laundering regime.

Ensuring that supervision and enforcement are focused on the criminals who launder funds, whilst taking a proportionate approach for legitimate business, will build Britain’s strong reputation as a safe place to invest and do business.

The review will look at the implementation of legislation and activity carried out under The Money Laundering Regulations 2007, by national supervisors including the Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC. As well as identifying where more clarity is needed for businesses, it will look for evidence of where the activity of these regulators could be made more efficient and effective.

The review is seeking a wide range of evidence, including:

  • whether current guidance meets businesses needs
  • the effectiveness and proportionality of supervisors’ approach to supervision and enforcement
  • where and how supervision and enforcement is not proportionate to the risks posed
  • any examples of good practice that could help businesses meet their obligations and might be replicated elsewhere

The call for evidence will run for 8 weeks until 23 October 2015 and can be found on the Cutting Red Tape website. Five other sector reviews were launched on 16 July 2015 into: agriculture, care homes, energy, mineral extraction and waste.

Notes to editors:

  1. Cutting Red Tape reviews look into whether legislation and its implementation can be simplified or improved, addressing issues such as where different regulators are asking the same company the same questions, or where guidance or requirements are unclear, confusing or unnecessarily burdensome.
  2. The first wave of sector reviews focuses on problems that were identified as part of the Red Tape Challenge and Business Focus on Enforcement programmes in the last Parliament. This is one of the sectors which reports a high level of concern about red tape. This is why it was chosen as one of the early reviews.
  3. The CBI has said reducing the cost of regulatory compliance in financial services should be a top priority for government.
  4. More than 2 thirds of respondents to The ICC Global Trade and Finance Survey 2014 citied the anti-money laundering regime as a “significant impediment” to trade finance – stopping many small businesses from benefitting from global trade.
  5. Businesses can feed back their thoughts by: