AML supervision and the OPBAS levy

Check to make sure you have paid your firm’s levy

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It is a legal requirement under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLRs) for anyone engaged in public practice to have anti-money laundering (AML) supervision in place with a Professional Body Supervisor (PBS) or with HMRC if not a member of a professional body.

ACCA is a PBS named in the MLRs. We play a vital role in upholding the requirements of the law by ensuring our supervised firms are compliant with the requirements under the legislation.

ACCA supervises firms (not individuals) for AML where ACCA members holding an ACCA Practising Certificate have a combined majority control over the firm.

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) was established in 2018 to strengthen the UK’s AML supervisory scheme and it oversees all PBSs to ensure they provide consistently high standards of AML supervision.  

OPBAS is housed within the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is entirely funded by the PBSs that it supervises. In line with other PBSs, these costs are recovered from the firms that we supervise.

Invoices were emailed to all AML supervised firms in February 2020 covering the periods 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.The fee was £13.50 per firm per year so for two years’ supervision a firm will need to pay £27. Subsequent fees were £14 (2020/21) and £14.50 (2021/22).

Other PBS have their own pricing approach for AML supervision. It is important to note that ACCA only recovers the cost of levy with no extra administrative costs passed onto members.

ACCA’s approach to charging the levy represents a significant financial benefit when compared to other bodies. For example, ICAEW’s levy was £28 for 2019, £49 for 2020 and £59 for 2021. HMRC acts as the default supervisor for any business not overseen by a professional body. It is not required to contribute to the cost of OPBAS but will charge an annual fee of £300 per premises to act as the AML supervisor for a firm.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the extraordinary situation being faced by firms, ACCA withheld sending payment reminders, but there is still a large population of firms that have not paid their levy.

If you are an ACCA supervised firm and have not paid your invoice, please log onto the myACCA portal using your firm’s ACCA reference number where the invoices will be found.

ACCA provides useful resources as part of your membership to help your firm comply with money laundering legislation in the UK.

We have developed informative and easy to follow factsheets that ensure you have practical resources to help you comply with your requirements. They cover a range of topics from UK financial sanctions in relation to Russia, conducting a Firm-wide Risk Assessment through to a useful client risk assessment tool that can be adopted to help you assess the money laundering risks of your clients.

Further AML resources – including the factsheets mentioned above and the FAQs on the OPBAS levy – are available now.