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Repeal (or at least relax) the money laundering regulations

Comment 11th July 2010

Repeal of the money laundering regulations.

Why does this matter?

The money laundering regulations are a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut. They cause real problems to innocent people.

 

I own a shareholding (value approximately £25,000) in a FTSE 100 company. That company is my former employer, and all of the shares were acquired through its SAYE scheme. The registrars (a truly appalling company called Equiniti) hold those shares electronically, and should know how they were acquired – after all, they were involved in the process over a period of many years. I need to sell my shareholding in order to buy a house. However, the registrars won't allow me to do so until they have verified my identity. This requires me to post my passport and a utility bill (the content of which is, incidentally, none of their business) to them. The process wil, they say, take two weeks. Of course, this means that I've lost the share price, and am likely to be unable to attain the same sale value. Even if I can, I am without access to my own property for two weeks.

 

The process also leaves me unable to leave the country until my passport is returned. (And that assumes that the registrars don't lose it – past experience of their service leads me to think that this is highly likely). The alternative is to send my driving licence, which means that I might be unable to produce it to the police within the statutory time limit if I am required to do so.

 

Also, the money laundering regulations effectively create the need for identity cards (or equivalent) via the back door.  Why should a person effectively be required to hold a passport or driving licence if they have no need to leave the country or cannot drive a car (eg, because they're blind)?

 

At best, the money laundering regulations are unnecessaril intrusive. The problem that they seek to address does not justify their existence (at least, in the present form). They are excessive.

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