Why do we have to ask you to provide proof of your identity and address?
A very tiny number of individuals may try to launder money through our accounts by instructing us to undertake work for them which at first sight appears legitimate, but which is actually part of a process designed by them to hide the proceeds of criminal activity.
Therefore, when we act for you, we are obliged by the Proceeds of Crime Act to ask you to provide us with original proof of your identity and address. We may have to do this even though we have acted for you before. We may also have to ask you to provide further information about transactions which you instruct us to undertake on your behalf. We hope that you will not find these requests to be intrusive and that you will appreciate why this is a necessary course of action.
The Proceeds of Crime Act places all solicitors under extremely strict rules to ensure that criminals and terrorists do not try to use us as a way to launder money derived from criminal activities. One of the ways that we do this is by being absolutely certain who we are acting for and precisely what the purpose of any transaction is. Failing to spot money laundering when we should, can lead to this firm facing criminal charges and therefore we take this issue very seriously.
Our Solicitors and employees have been trained to spot attempts to launder money or other illegal financial transactions. They also undergo regular training to ensure that their knowledge of this area is kept up to date. We have a dedicated Partner who acts as the firm’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer. She has the responsibility for the firm’s anti-money laundering policy and acts as our liaison with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
All firms of solicitors, accountancy firms, banks, building societies and other financial institutions have a legal obligation to ensure that they have procedures designed to combat the possibility of money laundering.
When acting for you we are required by law to check your identity and we may also wish to confirm information about your credit status. In order to verify the information that you provide we may make electronic anti-money laundering searches about you with a Reference or Fraud Prevention Agency; this will include information from the Electoral Roll. Scoring methods may be used as part of this process.
Also, we will ask you to supply original documents as confirmation of your identity, address or both which we will use along with any electronic checks we may need to perform. Any original documents provided to us will be recorded and copied for audit purposes as part of our Anti Money Laundering requirements and the originals returned to you.
Suitable items for the proof of identity could be a current passport or driving licence, and for the address, a utility bill, council tax bill or bank statement that is no more than three months old.
We may also require supporting evidence of the source of any money involved, for example bank or building society documents, and full details of any third party to whom you may instruct us to send funds to or receive funds from on your behalf. Our standard policy is that no cash amount of over £500 can be accepted from any client in any 28-day period and any change in your original financial instructions to us may result in a delay in our ability to proceed on your behalf.
Corporate and other business clients
Before we can act on behalf of the Directors or the Company, we will need to see the Certificate of Incorporation for your Company together with the latest Annual Accounts and a suitable Resolution confirming that the persons who are representing the Company are properly authorised.
Additionally, for all the Directors, we must see proof of identity. Suitable items for the proof of identity could be a current passport or driving licence, and for the address, a utility bill, council tax bill or bank statement that is no more than three months old.
Also, we may require supporting evidence of the source of any money involved, for example bank or building society documents, and full details of any third party to whom you may instruct us to send funds.
No cash amount of over £500 can be accepted from any client in any 28-day period and any change in your original financial instructions to us may result in a delay in our ability to proceed on your behalf.