The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation regarding the government-proposed Office for Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS).

The consultation sets out draft expectations about how professional body supervisors can meet their obligations in relation to AML supervision.

In March , the government announced its intention to create OPBAS as a new function within the FCA. The government has proposed that OPBAS oversees the adequacy of the anti-money laundering supervisory arrangements of 22 professional bodies. On 20 July 2017, the government published draft regulations that will give powers and responsibilities to OPBAS.

“The government asked the FCA to be responsible for reviewing the quality of AML supervision carried out by professional body supervisors,” Megan Butler, Executive Director of Supervision – Investment, Wholesale and Specialists Division at the FCA, said in a statement. “The aim of OPBAS will be to ensure consistency and quality and to drive up standards across all professional body AML supervisors in the United Kingdom.”

OPBAS’s approach will be to develop a sound understanding of the workings of the different bodies and sectors they supervise; adopt a risk-based approach that concentrates its supervisory resources where the risk is greatest; and liaise with other bodies with oversight roles for the professions to share good practice and avoid supervisory conflicts.

The FCA said it expects OPBAS to be up and running by the beginning of 2018 and for it to operate within the FCA’s existing governance arrangements. It will charge professional body supervisors a fee to recover its running costs. The FCA will consult on an approach to levying fees as part of the FCA’s annual consultation on fees in due course.