As an accountant, you may find yourself navigating the complex world of Registered Beneficial Ownership (RBO). One of your key responsibilities is to file discrepancies and non-compliance reports with the RBO. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to fulfil these requirements effectively.
In a recent webinar, Anti Money Laundering - Practical Procedures for your Practice, Sinead Gortland explained that the RBO process begins when you identify a discrepancy or non-compliance issue and file it with the RBO. The RBO then investigates the matter and communicates with the client, without revealing your identity. They simply refer to you as a 'designated' or 'relevant' person.
Discrepancies are often identified when clients are applying for bank accounts, as banks typically conduct thorough searches.
When discussing potential discrepancies with clients, Sinead clarified that it is crucial to approach the topic delicately, asking questions about beneficial ownership without tipping them off. If a discrepancy persists, you must file a discrepancy order or notice.
To do this, you need to appoint an RBO liaison officer. This role should ideally be filled by someone senior in the team, as it involves day-to-day operational tasks. Once the liaison officer is appointed, they are given a dedicated upload account on the RBO platform where they can file discrepancies.
Filing discrepancies involves stating what you believe the issue is. It's a critical area that has been documented in the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies and procedures manual.
From April 2021, firms were required under legislation to search the registered beneficial ownership for all new clients prior to establishing a business relationship. This involves downloading a report listing the beneficial owners to verify that the information aligns with what you know about the beneficial owner.
Remember, legal title does not equate to beneficial ownership. If you find a discrepancy between your information and the RBO report, you must file a discrepancy notice.
Non-compliance filing is relatively straightforward. If you find that there's no filing on the RBO for a particular client, you file a non-compliance notice with the RBO.
However, to pull down the RBO report, you must have your RBO designated persons account set up.
In conclusion, filing discrepancies and non-compliance reports with the RBO is a critical responsibility for accountants. While it may seem daunting, understanding the process and requirements can help ensure you fulfil your duties effectively and maintain a good relationship with your clients.
To watch the full session, click here. In the session, Sinead Gortland and Elaine Jackson cover the above as well as the following topics:
- What is Money Laundering?
- The AML Procedures that a Firm should implement.
- Documenting your Procedures
- The requirements for Accountants to file Discrepancies and Non-Compliance for RBO
- The Role of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer
The contents of this article are meant as a guide only and are not a substitute for professional advice. The author/s accept no responsibility for any action taken, or refrained from, as a result of the material contained in this document. Specific advice should be obtained before acting or refraining from acting, in connection with the matters dealt with in this article. The information at the time of publishing was accurate and could be subject to final changes.