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Money Laundering Regulation overkill

Comment 7th July 2010

As a small business owner we have been put to huge and continuing inconvenience because of the way these regulations apply and the documentation and form of ID that is required. It is not only that we have to supply detail every time some even trifling change is needed to bank details (irritation enough) but whenever we need to retain or even speak to a professional adviser, even one in no way directly related to money handling, like a solicitor. This causes delay, inconvenience and expense and is grossly disproportionate to the risks the government seeks to protect itself from. It is hard to believe this was intended by those framing legislation. Some may regard questions as intrusive.

The most annoying aspect is constantly having to demonstrate we are bona fide respectable directors. If this kind of inquisition is necessary at all (and I do query this) then surely the point at which to have the investigation is when one becomes a company director in the first instance (or every ten years or so thereafter); demonstrating that one is a director should then be proof enough that one is a fit person to run a bank account and appoint a financial adviser and so on.

Why does this matter?

The government appears to be utterly clueless about the impact legislation has on the day to day running of small businesses and the time consumption and delay their 'good ideas' create. This is magnified when irrelevant processes have to be done repeatedly. The money laundering regulations are GROSSLY disproportionate to the issue they allegedly seek to prevent and are poorly drafted and implemented with inappropriate enthusiasm owing to the oppressive impact of the punishment threatened for non compliance. It wastes a lot of time and creates unnecessary and unwarranted expense and is disliked by those to whom it applies as well as those forced to apply it. It is time for a rethink, and there is a real need for clarity and proportionality.

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