All firms that carry out services that are subject to the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) need to ensure that new beneficial owners, officers and managers (BOOMs) provide the SRA with proof that they do not have any criminal convictions that would prevent them taking up one or more of these roles. The required evidence is in the form of a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Effective from 10 January 2020, this is a new requirement by the Treasury on all supervisory authorities, such as the SRA, and it is required to form part of each authority’s anti-money laundering risk and compliance procedures.
The check must be submitted with Form 10b which provides the SRA with details of the new BOOM(s). Firms that have not previously had SRA money laundering authorisation must complete form FA10 to provide the SRA with details of the relevant services they intend to supply as well as information about the BOOMs. They will also need to confirm the identity of their Money Laundering Compliance Reporting Officer (MLRO) and, if they are of a sufficient size to have to have one, their Money Laundering Compliance Officer (MLCO). See the MLR 2017 r.21(1)(a) & 3 if you are unsure of the need for these appointments and r.12 if you are unsure if you are subject to the MLR 2017 at all. On this latter point see also para 1.4.5 of the Legal Sector Affinity Group AML Guidance if you need further guidance.
Assuming that you do need to provide the information (as the majority of firms will need to do) the forms can be downloaded from the SRA’s website on this link – www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/firm-based-authorisation/existing-firms-applications/
Advice on obtaining and completing the DBS forms can also be obtained from the SRA’s website at – www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/firm-based-authorisation/disclosure-barring-service-checks/
So who exactly are the BOOMs? The definitions are set out in the MLR 2017. The definition of “beneficial owner” appears in regulation 5 and is concerned with identifying those who have a measure of control over the entity and will include all those holding more than 25% of the shares in a company and, under r.5(3), the equivalent holding in a partnership.
An “officer” is quite widely defined within r.3 as
“(a) in relation to a body corporate, …
(i) a director, secretary, chief executive, member of the committee of management, or a person purporting to act in such a capacity, or
(ii) an individual who is a controller of the body, or a person purporting to act as a controller;
(b) in relation to an unincorporated association, means any officer of the association or any member of its governing body, or a person purporting to act in such a capacity; and
(c) in relation to a partnership, means a partner, and any manager, secretary or similar officer of the partnership, or a person purporting to act in such a capacity”
In other words, anyone who has, or purports to have, an official role in managing or directing the affairs of the firm must undergo a DBS check.
The term “manager” has an even wider definition at r.3 and includes those who have responsibility for managing the activities of the firm even if they do not form part of the firm’s executive or management team. The term is defined as “a person who has control, authority or responsibility for managing the business of that firm, and includes a nominated officer”. In this regard it is also worth noting that the Glossary to the SRA Standards and Regulations defines the term ‘partner’ as meaning “a person who is or is held out as a partner in a partnership”.