By Jonathan Jensen, Regulatory Policy Advisor
2021 saw a renewed focus from regulators on the quality of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance by regulated companies. Businesses can expect this attention to improving AML compliance to continue in 2022 across all sectors, with a particular emphasis on transparency of beneficial ownership – who ultimately owns a company.
UK government consultations on the effectiveness of UK AML regulations in 2021 sought views on amendments, allowing for ‘time-sensitive updates’. In 2022, HM Treasury’s response to these consultations will indicate how the UK AML regime will change and to what extent it could diverge from EU regulations.
One outcome of the UK review is likely to address concerns around the use of shell companies and the need to improve the transparency of beneficial ownership. This may result in the implementation of long-awaited changes to how company directors and people with significant control (PSCs) are verified by Companies House.
Regulators, including BaFin in Germany and the FCA in the UK, will continue to focus on improving AML and fraud controls in banks and electronic money institutions in 2022. International FATF guidance on compliance for virtual assets and virtual asset providers, (such as cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges) will be implemented by local regulators to improve regulation in these sectors.
2022 will doubtless be another busy year for the digital economy, with identity verification playing a key role in the fight against financial crime and the protection of individuals.
Progress towards reusable digital identity will continue. We can expect to see more details on the timeline for the practical use of the European Digital Identity Wallet, the benefits for individuals and the implications for identity verification. In the UK, the Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework looks likely to be finalised. Participating businesses will have to be certified which will require compliance with the Good Practice Guide (GPG) 45, the UK identity verification standard.
Meanwhile, in the gaming sector, affordability will continue to be a crucial factor in creating a safe environment for players. In 2022, regulatory pressure to protect players from spending more than they can afford will continue. Anticipated UK government proposals to reform the sector look set to emphasise this area and products that help operators understand the financial position of players will be key to maintaining compliance.
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