Banks up the ante on fighting money laundering

Banks worldwide are pouring funds into fighting money laundering, investing 61 per cent more funds over the past three years.

A study by accountancy firm KPMG has found an upturn in focus on anti-money laundering systems with nearly two thirds of banks surveyed seeing combating money laundering as a high-profile issue.

There has also been an increase in the number of reports banks make to law enforcement about suspicious activity, with 67 per cent stating that more reports have been generated.

Most financial institutions say the burden and costs incurred by anti-money laundering are acceptable, but admit that increased harmonisation across the globe is necessary to further improve the situation.

The findings are revealed as the deadline nears for responses to the Home Office consultation on the requirements for auditors to report money laundering.

At the moment, accountants, auditors and tax advisors are not covered by the privilege that protects lawyers from reporting money laundering activities carried out by clients.

On 13 September The Lawyer reported that the Institute of Chartered Accountants sought the opinion of Brick Court’s David Anderson QC to lobby the Home Office on the issue. Sir Sydney Kentridge QC – also of Brick Court – is understood to be advising the Law Society.