REGULATORY SUB COMMITTEE REPORT – October 2020
The last report was provided for the July 2020 meeting and key points were:
- Practising Certificate fee split consultation- HILS responded
- Compensation Fund contribution reduction & holding the PC fee
Developments since then:
- HM Treasury consultation on charging the anti-money laundering regulated community- so that includes solicitor firms- for an increased fund to tackle money laundering and fraud. Members were circulated with a synopsis and invited to respond. Response sent 9th October in line with the details sent to members.
- SRA Business Plan for November 2020- October 2021 has now been published. It sets out its areas of priority as:
- preparing for the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination in September 2021
- supporting greater adoption of innovation and technology in the legal sector
- increasing activity to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations
- supporting the legal sector during the UK EU exit transition
- undertaking research on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Their Chief Executive, Paul Philip, says in the introduction, “In light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and feedback received during the consultation, the final plan includes an even greater focus on the implications of the pandemic, particularly on the vulnerable. While reaffirming our commitment to developing a Welsh presence, the revised plan suggests delaying the opening of a physical office in Wales in light of the current Covid-19 constraints.”
Just to note that amongst the various initiatives, the SRA mentions
1. that over the next few years it will be carrying out a strategic review of solicitor continuing competence.
2. that it authorises providers of the Police Station Representatives Accreditation Scheme qualification and says “we want to enhance our quality assurance of this qualification by reviewing current arrangements this year and making any required changes in 2021/22.”
3. it will expand AML visits “to visit all high-risk firms on a three-year rolling basis, along with visiting a sample of lower risk firms. Every month [the SRA] will call in and analyse a sample of firms’ AML policies, procedures and controls, or their risk assessments, and we are planning to undertake a thematic review into tax advice.”
4. It will be increasing its resources to continue its review and enforcement relating to Price Transparency details on websites.
5. that as it starts to operate as a separate legal entity from The Law Society Group, the SRA says it “will undertake a full review of the fees we charge solicitors and law firms and develop an updated approach to our regulatory fees model for introduction in subsequent years.”
Definitely ones to watch.
Here is a link to the Plan and the detail: https://www.sra.org.uk/globalassets/documents/sra/board-meetings/2020/annex-2—sra-business-plan-and-budget-2020-21.pdf?version=4a81af
3. Brexit: The Law Society has published a checklist for firms as we end the Transition Period and will be updating its guidance, saying firms should prepare now. Here is the link: