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 in the legal and accountancy sectors.

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OPBAS is housed within the FCA and its 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 professional body AML supervisors (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 OPBAS powers to ensure the professional body AML supervisors meet the standards required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLRs).

The OPBAS sourcebook provides guidance for professional body AML supervisors on how they can meet their obligations:

View OBPAS sourcebook

We've analysed our progress so far in our 2019 and 2020 reports.

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].

Professional body supervisors

OPBAS oversees the following 25 legal and accountancy professional body supervisors:

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  

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 professional body supervisors outside the UK
  • the adequacy of any functions performed by professional body supervisors 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 professional body supervisor

An entity wishing to become a professional body supervisor must apply to OPBAS. Applications can be made using the application form and accompanying notes.

OPBAS 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.

OPBAS resources

For the background to OPBAS and further information, refer to our past publications and other resources:

Publication Date
OPBAS Update: Regulation 46A (Publication of Annual Reports) April 2021
FG21/2: Summary of feedback received February 2021
CP20/7: Quarterly Consultation Paper No 28 (chapter 4) June 2020
Accountancy Sector Intelligence Sharing Expert Working Group – Terms of Reference August 2020
Legal Sector Intelligence Sharing Expert Working Group – Terms of Reference August 2020
2020 OPBAS report: progress and themes March 2020
2019 OPBAS report: themes from our AML supervisory assessments March 2019
FG18/1: Sourcebook for professional body supervisors on anti-money laundering supervision January 2018

Page updates

15/04/2021: Document added OPBAS Update: Regulation 46A (Publication of Annual Reports)