Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS)

The Government established OPBAS as part of its reforms to strengthen the UK's anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory regime. OPBAS supervises the 25 professional body supervisors (PBSs) in the legal and accountancy sectors.

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Who we are

OPBAS is housed within the FCA and our key objectives are to reduce the harm of money laundering and terrorist financing by:

  1. ensuring a robust and consistently high standard of supervision by the PBSs overseeing the legal and accountancy sectors
  2. facilitating collaboration and information and intelligence sharing between PBSs, statutory supervisors and law enforcement agencies

The OPBAS Regulations 2017 give us powers to ensure that PBSs meet the standards required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLRs).

OPBAS sourcebook

Our sourcebook provides guidance for PBSs on how they can meet their obligations:

View OBPAS sourcebook

We've analysed our progress so far in our 20192020 and 2020/21 reports.

OPBAS is consulting on proposals to update the sourcebook. Find out more about the consultation and submit your response.

Contacting us

If you get an email, letter or phone call from someone claiming to work for us, it’s important you consider the possibility that it could be scam. Find out more about fake OPBAS/FCA emails.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

PBSs that we oversee

Accountancy Legal
Association of Accounting Technicians Chartered Institute of Legal Executives/ CILEx Regulation
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Council for Licensed Conveyancers
Association of International Accountants Faculty of Advocates
Association of Taxation Technicians Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants General Council of the Bar / Bar Standards Board
Chartered Institute of Taxation General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Law Society / Solicitors Regulation Authority
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Law Society of Northern Ireland
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland Law Society of Scotland
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland  
Institute of Financial Accountants  
International Association of Bookkeepers  
Insolvency Practitioners Association  

What OPBAS does not supervise

  • members of professional bodies, such as firms, accountants and solicitors, or any other type of business subject to the requirements of the MLRs
  • statutory anti-money laundering supervisors such as the Gambling Commission and HM Revenue and Customs
  • activity carried out by PBSs outside the UK
  • the adequacy of any functions performed by PBSs unrelated to AML supervision, including any oversight of their members’ controls over other types of financial crime, such as those related to the prevention of fraud, improving data security and the implementation of financial sanctions and asset freezes

Becoming a PBS

An entity wishing to become a PBS must apply to us using the application form and accompanying notes.

We will consider whether the relevant entity meets the standards expected of AML supervisors set out in the MLRs, and will recommend to the Treasury whether the legislation should be amended to assign a formal role for the entity.

SRA consultation on financial penalties

We view the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and all PBSs, as playing an essential role in reducing the risk of money laundering through the effective supervision of its members.

In our 2020/21 report we observed gaps in most PBS enforcement frameworks. We expect:

  • all PBSs to ensure that their members are liable to effective, proportionate and dissuasive disciplinary action
  • the SRA, and PBSs more generally, to establish a credible and robust fining framework

In November 2021, the SRA consulted on its approach to financial penalties. In March 2022, we wrote to the SRA with our view on this consultation.

OPBAS resources

Page updates

20/07/2022: Editorial amendment Updates to page features for website refresh.
23/05/2022: Information added SRA consultation on financial penalties
15/04/2021: Document added OPBAS Update: Regulation 46A (Publication of Annual Reports)