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Regulator&#39s laundry list just will not wash

In line with Money Marketing&#39s campaign to try and make life a little more tolerable for IFAs, perhaps you could revisit the vexed question of money laundering.

It seems that the regulations have been framed with high-street institutions and large organisations in mind.

There seems to be no acknowledgement of the way in which financial advisers operate. On the one hand, we are obliged to know our clients. If that is the case, then why is our own cognisance not good enough? Our own certificate verifying that we know this client and will vouch for him without having to go through all the silly rigmarole should suffice.

Merely as an example, I have been carrying out stock transfers between two family members who live at the same address. This particular family have been clients of mine since 1986. I have to carry out the money laundering process on the clients for some of the investment houses who consider these people to be their clients.

This is another fallacy, they are my clients. I am, in fact, placing the business with the investment company concerned on behalf of my clients, therefore, I am the investment company&#39s client and am responsible for insuring that Mr Bin Laden is not my client.

More perversely, of the nine different investment houses only two are asking for the money-laundering process to be carried out.

This underlines what we all already know – there is no standardisation.

The regulator offers the usual copout – it is up to individual firms to make sure they do the necessary. What sort of regulation is this?

It smacks a bit of the speed camera syndrome to me -the real purpose is for revenue (fines) rather than the stated objective.

Is it beyond the wit of those who make the regulations to make IFAs responsible for the probity of their own clients and if there is a lapse and it is proven that monies emanate from the proceeds of malfeasance, then by all means make the IFA liable.

Having a copy of a passport and a bill on file does not really prove the identity of anybody, all it proves is that they have a passport and get bills,even the Great Train Robbers would have qualified.

On the other hand, the drug barons can continue to go to the Post Office and buy £30,000 worth of premium bonds or gilts on the national regis-ter with no questions asked. This is the usual Governmental edict – do as I say, not as I do. Please could we have the application of a little grey matter by those who make the rules and regulations? It will probably be a first if they do exercise a little logical thought.

Harry Katz

Norwest Consultants

Stanmore,Middlesex

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