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Firm fined for failure to deliver AML training
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15 Apr 2024 / britain Print

Firm fined for failure to deliver AML training

South-east London firm Austen-Jones Solicitors was fined £15,200 after failing to make staff aware of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements and failing to provide them with relevant training, the Law Society of England and Wales Gazette has reported.

The firm also failed to have in place or maintain the required AML documents for doing conveyancing work.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said that the firm had started conveyancing work in 2017 and was contacted in 2020 by the regulator about making a declaration about having a risk assessment in place.

The firm apologised for not undertaking the risk assessment. But when the SRA carried out an inspection in November 2022, the supervision team found several failures to comply with money-laundering regulations.


These included failing to have a firm-wide assessment in place and, for almost six years, failing to have the required policies, controls, and procedures.

The SRA said that the firm’s conduct was a breach of its regulatory and legislative obligations, “which persisted for longer than was reasonable”.

'Failed to take heed'

The firm failed to take heed of the SRA’s guidance and warning notices about what was required, particularly when it was engaged in conveyancing work that was considered high-risk.

The firm co-operated with the SRA investigation, remedied the breaches and there was no evidence that actual harm had occurred.

The regulator ruled that the firm should be fined 2.4% of its annual domestic turnover. It was also ordered to pay £1,350 in costs.

Austen-Jones Solicitors is the latest of more than 20 firms fined since last October for failure to comply with money-laundering regulations. Due to new fining powers of up to £25,000, in addition to the new way of calculating fines as a percentage of turnover, these sanctions have tended to be more severe than the SRA had previously issued.

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