Anti-money laundering guidance for AAT licensed member applicants and the public

All regulated businesses, including AAT Licensed Accountants and Bookkeepers offering self-employed services, are obliged to ensure both their firm-wide and client-specific risk assessment processes and procedures are sufficiently robust to comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017).

Anti-money laundering (AML) supervision

All AAT licensed members must register for AML supervision. We exercise our supervisory function by conducting practice assurance reviews and providing support to help our licensed members understand the controls and monitoring they must have in place to comply with the current money-laundering regulations in force.

AAT is supervised by the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), a regulator set up by the government to strengthen the UK’s AML supervisory regime and ensure that professional bodies' AML supervisors provide consistently high standards.

Information for licensed member applicants: Basic Disclosure checks

To comply with MLR 2017, all AAT licensed members who are supervised by AAT must follow enhanced measures to demonstrate they are "fit and proper" to act as a licensed member. You must apply for a Basic Disclosure check and supply a Basic Disclosure Certificate to AAT to demonstrate that you do not hold any outstanding criminal convictions relating to your remit as an AAT licensed member. A list of relevant convictions can be found in Schedule 3 of the regulations.

Find out more about the measures and why they've been introduced

How to apply for your Basic Disclosure check

Please apply for your Basic Disclosure check from your relevant body below.

Once you have received your certificate, please send the original document along with your licensed member application. Please note that we must receive your certificate within three months of it being issued. 

Basic Disclosure checks for beneficial owners, officers and managers (BOOMs)

These measures also apply to all beneficial owners, officers and managers (BOOMs). All licensed members are now asked to provide adequate proof that any BOOMs within their firm do not have any relevant unspent criminal convictions as set out in Schedule 3 to the MLR 2017 by having Basic Disclosure checks completed. While AAT will not be requesting evidence of their Basic Disclosure Certificates in all cases, we will be looking at how our licensed members are meeting this obligation during our practice assurance monitoring activity. 

The examples below will help you understand if you have any BOOMs in your firm.

Beneficial owners include:

  • a sole practitioner
  • a partner, or LLP member, in a firm who:
    • holds (directly or indirectly) more than 25% of the capital, profits or voting rights, or
    • exercises ultimate control
  • a shareholder in a limited company who:
    • holds (directly or indirectly) more than 25% of the shares, or voting rights, or
    • ultimately owns, or exercises ultimate control.

Those defined as officers would include:

  • a sole practitioner
  • a partner in a partnership (including a Scottish Limited Partnership (SLP))
  • a member in a limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • a director or company secretary in a limited company
  • a member of the firm’s management board or equivalent.

Managers include:

  • the nominated officer (the MLRO)
  • the member of the board of directors (or if there is no board, its equivalent management body) or of its senior management as the officer responsible for the relevant person’s compliance with MLR17)
  • any other principal, senior manager, or member of a management committee who is responsible for setting, approving or ensuring the firm’s compliance with the firm’s AML policies and procedures, in relation to:
    • client acceptance procedures
    • the firm’s risk management practices
    • internal controls, including employee screening and training for AML purposes
    • internal audit or the annual AML compliance review process
    • customer due diligence, including policies for reliance
    • AML record keeping.

Read more about BOOMs on AAT Comment 

Specific failings and breaches of the MLR

The following are specific breaches or failings that can occur, and action taken where licensed members do not implement any or adequate policies and procedures:

  • Failure to apply appropriate and risk-sensitive customer due diligence measures
  • Failure to apply appropriate and risk-sensitive ongoing monitoring of a business relationship
  • Failure to comply with the requirements on timing of verification of identity of clients and any beneficial owner
  • By continuing with transaction/business relationship where unable to apply customer due diligence measures
  • Failure to apply enhanced customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring where required
  • Failing to follow a direction made by HM Treasury under this regulation (directions where the Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF) applies countermeasures)
  • Failure to keep the required records
  • Failure to establish, maintain, monitor and manage the required risk-based policies and procedures
  • Failure to take appropriate measures to provide the required training
  • Regulations 26, 27(4), 33 - failure to comply with registration requirements specified by the Commissioners