Since having to obtain identification for most clients since 1994 and for
everyone since September 1, I do wonder how much money laundering and
associated crime our efforts (that is all advisers)has prevented over the
last eight to nine years.
I have not seen any statistics, either PIA/FSA or Governmental since, but
we are nevertheless expected to act as unpaid civil servants in this
If we do not now “whistleblow” on any suspected cases or clients, we could
be fined, put out of business, jailed or all three.
Having been an IFA for 12 years, I have never had reason to suspect any of
my clients and I feel it unlikely that this will change even if I manage to
work (sorry, survive) in this industry (my PI insurance is up for renewal
soon) until I retire.
As most advisers know, those that want to be involved in money laundering
will seek out like-minded people to assist them and our efforts are
unlikely to make a major impact on this form of crime.
Although I am not advocating that we should cease the current proof of
identification practices, my point is that the focus should be extended or
placed elsewhere to prevent other forms of far more prevalent crime. For
example, I was travelling to see one of many clients this week when a
thoughtful rubble lorry in front of me decided to shed part of its
excessive load. Several large rocks bounced on to the road in front of me
and one hit the front of my VW, destroying my numberplate.
I visited my local motor factors to get a replacement and an efficient chap
made me a new one in three minutes flat at the cost of just over £7.
During those three minutes, I explained to him what had happened and asked
if he wanted any proof of ID that the plates were for my car. He said no,
and said this legislation was only due to come into force in January 2003.
As we know, car crime is of epidemic proportions in this country. We have
all read about and seen on the many motoring programmes on TV that there
are some simple ways in which the Government, manufacturers and the DVLA
could drastically cut many forms of car crime in the UK.
Stopping people obtain false numberplates is one of these and no wonder car
criminals are getting away with it so easily. False plates allow cars to be
used illegally. They can be involved in other crimes, often causing other
damage or used to export stolen vehicles.
When the identity of a car can be changed in minutes for next to no cost,
why has it taken so long for proof of ID legislation to reach the motor
Once again, it would seem that bureaucracy has triumphed over common sense
for which we all end up paying for (not least in higher insurance
premiums). Should I be surprised? I think not.
MGA Financial Planning,