AML compliance checklist: Strengthening your defence against money laundering

Hand holding a pen completing a checklist


It’s important for law firms to embrace due diligence as a key tool in preventing money laundering. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top tips and essential considerations to bolster your AML efforts, ensuring your firm remains vigilant in the fight against money laundering. We’ll highlight the significance of maintaining a robust AML compliance checklist to maximise your defence against the ‘baddies’. 

The significance of an AML compliance checklist

As law firms navigate the intricate landscape of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, having a robust checklist is extremely important. Let’s delve into specific measures that constitute this checklist, and strengthen your defences against money laundering risks.

1. Incorporating your Supervisor’s Risk Assessment

Ensure your AML compliance checklist is crafted to incorporate the critical step of integrating your Supervisor’s Risk Assessment. This step isn’t just a formality, but a strategic move to align with Regulation 18(2), underlining the importance of fostering a comprehensive understanding of potential risks and discrepancies. 

By seamlessly integrating your Supervisor’s Risk Assessment into your checklist, you can create a unified approach enabling your firm to proactively identify, assess, and mitigate any potential threats related to money laundering.

2. Client account in Firm Risk Assessment

Within your AML compliance checklist, place significant emphasis on the inclusion of client accounts in your Firm Risk Assessment. Clearly explain how your firm actively identifies and mitigates risks associated with these accounts, providing a granular insight into the specific protocols and monitoring mechanisms employed. 

In addition, stress the importance of cross-referencing these account procedures within your overarching AML policy. This dual-focused strategy not only ensures a comprehensive approach to risk mitigation, but also establishes a cohesive framework that aligns your AML efforts with both regulatory standards and internal operational practices.

3. Source of funds and wealth

Within your AML compliance checklist, it’s important to place a robust emphasis on the documentation of the source of funds and wealth. Encourage a meticulous approach towards recording every step taken, conducting thorough reviews of pertinent information, and undertaking comprehensive risk assessments. 

Actively promoting a culture of precision in documenting these aspects not only defends your AML efforts, but also ensures a detailed trail for auditing purposes. Also, consider increasing your educational initiatives by hosting informative webinars that delve into the intricacies of source of funds and wealth.

4. Client communication strategies

Within your AML compliance checklist, it’s crucial to equip it with highly effective client communication strategies. Clearly outline to your staff the importance of client due diligence (CDD) checks, particularly those relating to the source of funds and wealth. 

Clearly explain the rationale behind these checks, emphasising their critical role in preventing money laundering and fostering a deeper understanding of the legal obligations.

5. Timing of verification

Within your AML compliance checklist, pay attention to timing in your verification processes. Whether opting for the completion of identity and verification (ID&V) before establishing a business relationship, or following the initial interaction, the key lies in the monitoring and comprehensive documentation of the entire process to meet stringent regulatory requirements.

6. CDD on existing clients

Within your AML compliance checklist, it’s essential to discourage over-reliance on existing client due diligence by advocating for the implementation of a proactive ‘shelf life’ approach.

Emphasise the significance of regularly refreshing client due diligence (CDD) to ensure its relevance and effectiveness. Encourage fee earners to take an active role in this process by consistently assessing and reassessing changes in the Matter-Based Risk Assessment.

7. “Purpose of Act” verification

Incorporate ‘purports to act’ verification within your AML compliance checklist. While certain approaches may hinge on Regulation 28(10), it’s wise to go beyond and advocate for ID&V specifically for at least one director. This strategic inclusion ensures a tangible and individual connection to the corporate client, surpassing regulatory compliance.

8. Providing information to clients

Integrate information dissemination into your AML compliance checklist. Ensure your clients receive the required information under The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (High-Risk Countries) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, amended by the Data Protection Act 2018.

9. Understand electronic verification

Enhance your AML compliance checklist by proactively educating your team about electronic verification processes. Clearly outline the steps, checks, and match requirements involved in this technology-driven aspect of anti-money laundering measures. 

This educational initiative not only promotes an understanding amongst your team members, but also ensures that electronic verification is seamlessly integrated into your compliance protocols. 

Additionally, emphasise the importance of staying well-informed about the details of your chosen service providers, particularly if agreements were made with a previous money laundering reporting officer (MLRO).

10. Certifying copy ID

Exercise thorough caution within your AML compliance checklist when it comes to selecting individuals for certifying copy ID. Prioritise engaging professionals who aren’t only well-versed in AML legislation, but also possess a understanding of the intricacies involved in the certification process. 

This strategic selection ensures not only compliance with regulatory requirements, but also contributes to the creation of a reliable and robust paper trail. 

Additionally, it highlights the importance of providing clear and comprehensive explanations to both clients and certifiers regarding the specific requirements for accurate and traceable documentation.

Why is an AML compliance checklist important?

An AML compliance checklist is your strategic defence against the damaging effects of money laundering. Through the implementation and continual refinement of these checklist items, your law firm not only enhances its regulatory defence, but also positions itself as a resolute participant in the battle against financial crime.

Get in touch

At Teal, we’re here to support your journey towards compliance that works. 

We understand that compliance can be a daunting word, but it’s also the key to unlocking your firm’s full potential.

Get in touch with our experts to find out how we can help. 


Testimonial from Right Legal
"We have been using Teal to support our compliance frameworks, and every aspect of our experience with them has been fantastic. From the training to the audits, and especially the ‘Ask Teal’ helpline, nothing is too much trouble, and you get quick support from some of the industry’s best compliance experts. Just having them there to support our continued growth takes a huge weight off my mind. Highly recommend to firms of all size and structure!"
Get in touch
Testimonial from Constantine Law
"We rely on Teal Compliance to provide responsive, practical compliance services to Constantine Law (we do not have an in-house compliance officer/function). I would encourage all solicitor firms without their own resource to engage with Teal: they know what they are doing and they provide peace of mind regarding day-to-day compliance matters as well as responses to unforeseen (tricky) compliance matters. They have become an indispensable partner to Constantine Law in our growth journey."
Get in touch
Testimonial from Streathers Solicitors
"We have worked with Teal for several years. They have provided us with AML training and also helped us put together our firm-wide AML risk assessment and our updated AML policy, along with assisting us with various issues as and when they arose. We have always found them to be very helpful, friendly, responsive and knowledgeable, and are happy to recommend them."
Get in touch
Testimonial from Streathers Solicitors
"We have had a relationship with Teal for a number of years and they have provided a valuable resource to our compliance team. Teal combine the delivery of a personal and friendly service with city level expertise."
Get in touch
Previous slide
Next slide