A&O Shearman | FinReg | UK Legislates on Differentiating Risk of Domestic Politically Exposed Persons
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  • UK Legislates on Differentiating Risk of Domestic Politically Exposed Persons

    The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which amend the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (known as the MLRs), come into force on January 10, 2024. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 imposed on HM Treasury a duty to use its powers under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 to amend the MLR customer due diligence measures required where a customer is a domestic (U.K.) politically exposed person (i.e., a PEP entrusted with prominent public functions by the U.K. government, as opposed to a foreign government). The Amendment Regulations fulfil that obligation, providing that unless there are other enhanced risk factors, the due diligence measures applicable to a domestic PEP are reduced compared to those applicable to a non-domestic PEP. The change follows concerns by many members of Parliament that banks and other financial institutions were imposing overly burdensome requirements for information and, in some instances, denying accounts to U.K. politicians and their family members, and also follows the furore over the de-banking by NatWest Bank of the prominent U.K. politician Nigel Farage, which led to the resignation of its CEO.

    The FSM Act 2023 also imposed an obligation on the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority to review its guidance for financial institutions on their approach to PEPs. The FCA launched a review of its guidance in September 2023, and is expected to publish a report, and amended guidance if appropriate, by the end of June 2024.

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