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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 13:37 GMT
FSA removes money laundering rule
FSA headquarters
Changing its rule book but not the rules
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is streamlining its detailed rules on money laundering - by removing them.

Firms will still be required to have money laundering reporting officers, check the identity of clients, and report any suspected money laundering.

But from August senior management will still be obliged to have controls in place, rather than following the details of the FSA rule book.

An FSA spokesman said: "The firms cannot sit back and relax."

"This is not a change to reality, we are not sending a wrong signal" he added.

Regulated firms will have until August this year to put their own anti-money laundering codes in place.

Now the emphasis will be on the senior management of regulated companies to make sure their own internal checks against money launderers are sufficiently robust.

New changes

The obligation to combat money laundering stems from legislation passed in the early 1990s.

Suspected instances of money laundering must be reported directly to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

The impending change to the FSA's rules was proposed by the FSA itself during a consultation exercise with the financial services industry last year.

The feedback was overwhelmingly in favour of removing this section of the rule book.

Philip Robinson, the FSA's Financial Crime sector leader, said: "The changes in our handbook do not mean we are going soft on money laundering, they are part of delivering a more proportionate and effective regime to counter money laundering."

The present FSA rules on money laundering were drawn up in December 2001.

They replaced the rule books of various regulators which had been abolished with the creation of the FSA in 1998.

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