The Law Society has signalled its ‘deep concern’ over proposals for a new quango to monitor anti-money laundering supervision, claiming its running costs will impose ‘unnecessary costs’ on the profession.
In a consultation response, Chancery Lane says the planned Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) would ‘add no more value’ than an adequately resourced HM Treasury.
The Financial Conduct Authority is tasked with implementing the office, which will oversee the adequacy of supervisory arrangements at 22 professional bodies including the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Each body will be charged a fee to recover the office’s running costs.
A consultation paper published in July estimated the quango will cost £2m, shared by all 22 bodies, with a further £39,800 per body added on top to account for ‘additional tasks’. The FCA stressed however that the estimate is only for the purposes of the consultation paper’s cost-benefit analysis and that it would consult on fees ‘in due course’.
Last month, in an initial response, the Society said the case had ‘not been made’ for introducing the office.
In its formal consultation response the Society adds that it expects both it and the SRA will have to increase resources to support engagement with the office.
‘It is too early for us to estimate the cost but it is likely to be substantial,’ the response states.