Who regulates the regulators?

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The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) is a new regulator that has been set up by the government as part of a package of reforms to strengthen the AML supervisory regime in the United Kingdom.

On the 18th January, the OPBAS Regulations were formally implemented, giving OPBAS the responsibilities and powers to ensure that professional body AML supervisors meet the standards required by the Money Laundering Regulations that were introduced last year.

The new regulator will oversee professional body AML supervisors listed in Schedule 1 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, but will not directly supervise statutory anti-money laundering supervisors such as the Gambling Commission and HM Revenue and Customs; activity carried out by professional body supervisors outside the UK; Legal and accountancy firms or the adequacy of any functions performed by professional body supervisors unrelated to AML supervision - this includes any oversight of their members’ controls over other types of financial crime, such as those related to the prevention of fraud, improving data security and the implementation of financial sanctions and asset freezes.

The overall aim of OPBAS is to improve the consistency of supervision by professional body AML supervisors, and a sourcebook has been published here for these supervisory bodies to learn more about how they can meet their obligations in relation to AML supervision.