I held a debate in Westminster Hall regarding business banking and Pooled Client Accounts. I have been shocked at the stories I have heard over the last couple of years from reputable businesses across the country who have faced closure due to how the UK anti-money laundering regulations are being understood and implemented by UK banks.
This issue was first highlighted to me by Peter Norris who runs Network Yacht Brokers Kent a business in the constituency and who is also the chairman of ABYA - Association of Brokers & Yacht Agents over the last 2 years I have been working with Peter and ABYA lobbying the HM Treasury and Ministers for their intervention with some success in getting banks to pause account closures.
However upon further investigation I have found that this is impacting many industries including letting agents thanks to Timothy Douglas at Propertymark which represent over 23k letting agent businesses nationwide for their engagement with me, but is also affecting, insurance brokers, care homes, pawn brokers, talent agents and many more small to medium businesses.
After Peter and I had numerous conversations with the treasury a review of the anti-money laundering regulations was due to be completed by December 2022, however, disappointingly this was delayed a year to December 2023. I also met with Baroness Penn a few weeks ago ahead of the debate, so I am therefore pleased that the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffiths MP confirmed at the Debate that there will be no further delays. The review will focus on how the anti-money laundering procedures can be reformed and improved, providing better guidance and greater clarity and I will continue to follow this closely.