UK Home Office drops 5AMLD bank account portal plan

Monday, 16 August 2021
The UK government has dropped its plans to create a centralised automated register of every owner of a bank account or safe deposit box.
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The so-called 'bank account portal' was mandated by the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), transposed into UK law in January 2020 just after the UK’s formal exit from the European Union. Its purpose was to help law enforcement and anti-money laundering (AML) supervisors to identify holders and beneficial owners of bank accounts, payment accounts and safe deposit boxes.

Under 5AMLD, EU Member States were instructed to implement national bank account portals by 10 September 2020. At that date, however, most Member States had still not transposed 5AMLD into their national law and the UK was still in the Brexit transition period pending the conclusion of a detailed withdrawal agreement.

Following the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in January 2021, the Home Office engaged a consultant to carry out an assessment into the costs and benefits of a portal. The conclusion was that building a portal would be costly to the public and private sectors and, moreove,r its efficiency benefits were uncertain and it might not deliver the level of change needed.

The Home Office has now cancelled the plan. It will ask HM Treasury to repeal the measure from domestic legislation at the earliest opportunity.

'We welcome the cancellation, as it avoids imposing further regulatory burdens on firms and adding to compliance costs,' commented the Law Society of England and Wales.


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