Firms braced for cost hit of new money laundering regulations

More than half of the UK’s law firms are gearing up for new Money Laundering Regulations, despite the guidelines not yet being finalised, a study has revealed.

Two-thirds of law firms have already invested in additional training for staff, despite misgivings about the regulations.

The research, conducted by LexisNexis, shows that 52 per cent of law firms expect it will result in additional financial investment.

Of these, 50 per cent claim their overall due diligence costs will increase by between 10 and 29 per cent.

The 2007 regulations were designed to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as required under the EU Third Money Laundering Directive, which must be implemented into UK law by December.

It is anticipated that law firms will be expected to change how they undertake customer due diligence or face high fines or prison.

Mark Dunn, head of risk and compliance at LexisNexis, said it is important that firms are fully prepared for the regulations.

“The regulatory authorities are likely to clamp down hard on law firms that do not adhere to the new regulations, so companies need to make sure that they don’t run the risk of being penalised,” said Dunn.