Who are we?
Contractordotcom Limited (“us/we/our”) is a UK-registered company providing payroll and employer services to independent contractors, agencies and end clients. Although our business is low risk in relation to money laundering, we wish to take steps to prevent our services from being used for any money laundering activity or our staff being exposed to money laundering. This policy is put in place to complement the anti-money laundering training given to all staff.
What does this policy cover?
Money laundering is defined broadly meaning that anyone could potentially commit a money laundering offence. In order to meet our legal and regulatory requirements in a way which is proportionate to the low-risk nature of our business, this policy enables us to take reasonable steps to minimise the likelihood of money laundering occurring.
All employees must be familiar with their legal responsibilities and failure to comply with this policy may lead to disciplinary action.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering can be defined as the process to move illegally acquired cash through financial systems so that it appears to be from a legitimate source and primary offences include concealing, disguising, converting, transferring criminal property or removing it from the UK (Section 327 The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”)); entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which you know or suspect facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person (Section 328 POCA); and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property (Section 329 POCA).
There are also a number of secondary offences such as failure to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (“MLRO”), failure by the MLRO to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering to the National Crime Agency and ‘tipping off’. That is where person A informs person B who is, or is suspected of being involved in money laundering, in a way that may either reduce the likelihood of Person B being investigated and/or prejudice an investigation.
If any member of staff suspects money laundering and either becomes involved with it and/or does nothing about it, that member of staff could potentially be caught by the money laundering provisions. This Policy sets out how to raise money laundering concerns.
Who is the MLRO?
Our MLRO is Lauren Andre. The MLRO is responsible for anti-money laundering activity within our business and shall receive disclosures about money laundering activity, ensure that all staff receive regular training in and are made aware of, anti-money laundering and that appropriate anti-money laundering systems and processes are in place in our business.
What if you suspect that Money Laundering is occurring in relation to our business?
If a member of staff has any knowledge of or suspicion of activity that could relate to money laundering, they should report this to the MLRO as soon as practicable using the report template set out below.
Having done so, the staff member should not make any further enquiries into the matter, nor make any notes on the file regarding the report or voice their concerns to any person, including those suspected of money laundering. Doing so could result in the offence of ‘tipping off’ being committed. The staff member should follow the advice and instructions issued by the MLRO.
What happens once a disclosure report has been made?
Once the MLRO has received the report, the MLRO will promptly evaluate it to determine whether there is actual or suspected money laundering taking place or if there are reasonable grounds to know or suspect that this is the case. The MLRO must also determine whether a Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”) needs to be lodged with the National Crime Agency (“NCA”) and/or any report made to any other relevant organisation.
If the MLRO determines that there are no reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering, the MLRO shall allow any ongoing or imminent transaction(s) to proceed.
If the MLRO determines that a SAR is required to be lodged with the NCA, consent is required from the NCA for a transaction to proceed. The transaction(s) in question must not be undertaken or completed until the NCA has either given specific consent, or there is deemed consent through the expiration of the relevant time limits without objection from the NCA.
What customer identification and due diligence do we perform?
Due diligence is performed on all customers who must provide basic information including full name, residential address and date of birth to confirm their identity.
For certain customers, we may deem it necessary to undertake enhanced due diligence, for example, where the customer or a transaction involving the customer appears to be “high risk” such as a new customer who is in a known high-risk industry, is a party to a complex payment arrangement or is a politically exposed person (“PEP”). To do this, a higher level of identification and verification of the customer’s identity is required.
All staff must assess the money laundering risk for each customer and if they suspect enhanced due diligence is required, they should speak to the MLRO before continuing any engagement with the customer. The MLRO will be required to approve the continuance of the business relationship.
When undertaking enhanced due diligence, the MLRO must obtain additional information on the customer and if any, on the customer’s beneficial owner(s). Additional information on the intended nature of the business relationship and the source of funds and source of wealth of the customer and if any, the customer’s beneficial owner(s) should also be obtained. Enhanced monitoring of the business relationship should then be done. This may include but is not limited to, checking the customer’s website to confirm the identity of personnel, its business address and any other details, checking available public registers such as those available at Companies House and ensuring that payments are made into a bank account in the customer’s name.
If obtained evidence of identity is not satisfactory then the business relationship or one-off transaction(s) cannot proceed further and a report should be made to the MLRO who will follow the procedure set out in this policy.
How often should we monitor for money laundering?
To ensure that customer information and information held on each customer is accurate, up to date and consistent with our knowledge of the customer and its business and that the risk level of each is appropriate, all staff should review customer’s information at regular intervals. Further due diligence should be undertaken as required especially if new people become involved at a customer. Any suspicious activity must be reported to the MLRO who will then follow the procedure set out in this policy.
How is relevant data collected and processed?
All customer details are to be collected in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. We are permitted to “process” such details, as defined under the Data Protection Act 2018, to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
How long must records be kept?
Reports, SARs, identification evidence and details of any relevant transaction(s) for that customer must be retained for at least 5 years from the end of any business relationship with that customer.