The AML Certificate is a crucial tool in our statutory obligation to deploy a risk-based approach to our AML Supervision. The certificate is a questionnaire about your products, services, clients and the way in which you deliver your services. It is compulsory for firms that fall within the scope of the AML Regulations.

 

  • The 2023 AML Certificate portal will open in early 2024.
  • Practices in scope of the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations will be required to submit a 2023 AML Certificate.
  • The relevant period of business will be: 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023

You can download a Word copy of the 2023 AML Certificate should you wish to prepare your answers on paper. The downloadable version is also available on the left hand column of this page.

  • Please note, the paper copy is for preparation purposes only and you must use the online portal to complete and return the certificate once it is open.
  • The questionnaire will be familiar to those who have completed it in previous years, with no material changes to the 2023 version. 

Guidance

Our updated guidance booklet for the 2023 AML Certificate is now available.

This booklet contains guidance notes on preparing, navigating, and interpreting the AML Certificate process. Further general guidance videos relating to accessing the portal, locating your practice and navigating through the certificate can be found below, along with a list of frequently asked questions. 

Keep an eye on your inbox for further information and updates.

You may wish to check correspondence from the Law Society does not filter into your spam/junk folders. In order to avoid this, please ensure that your practice lifts any filters on emails from the Law Society of Scotland to be certain that you receive important updates, including those relating to the 2023 AML Certificate.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, under Accounts Rule B9, completion of the AML Certificate is compulsory. The usual process for non-compliance will be followed where necessary, which may result in referral of a complaint to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.   

No. The AML registration process, whereby firms must keep us informed of Partners, Beneficial Owners etc, is distinct from the AML Certificate.

Being up to date with your AML Registrations is not the same as being covered for your AML Certificate. You must still complete the AML Certificate process annually.

If your Practice does not offer any of the services listed below, it may be that you do not need to submit an AML Certificate. You will of course need to satisfy yourself on the legal position.

Any Practice which is exempt from reporting under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 should complete a declaration of exemption to be entered in the firm's record. If you do not yet have this but believe you are exempt, please download and complete an exemption declaration and send to us at aml@lawscot.org.uk

The service provision bringing firms within scope of the Regulations are,

  • the buying and selling of real property or business entities
  • the managing of client money, securities or other assets
  • the opening or management of bank, savings and securities accounts
  • the organisation of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies
  • the creation, operation or management of trusts, companies, foundations or similar structures
  • forming companies or other legal persons
  • acting or arranging for another person to act;
    • as a director or secretary of a company
    • as a partner of a partnership; or
    • in a similar capacity in relation to other legal persons
  • providing a registered office, business address, correspondence or administrative address or other related services for a company, partnership or any other legal person or legal agreement
  • acting or arranging for another person to act, as;
    • a trustee of an express trust or similar legal arrangement; or
    • a nominee shareholder for a person other than a company whose securities are listed on a regulated market

The MLRO should sign in to the Members Area of our website using their own credentials, then select AML from the menu on the left hand side. They should then select the AML Certificate tab, read the notes and scroll down to begin completing the form. 

Please remember to use the Select Firm Box to confirm the Firm you are completing on behalf of.

Please also note the certificate is available to download and print to aid you in completion. You may also wish to save this for future submissions.

We have prepared a Guidance Booklet with a visual guide to the process.

For the 2023 AML Certificate, the deadline for submission will be Tuesday, 30 April 2024.

Some fields are mandatory. The most likely explanation is that you have not completed all of the mandatory questions. If your answer to any question is No/None, 0, or Not Applicable this must still be entered.

Please remember to also complete the Position within the Firm field on the first page and then Select Your Firm field on the first page.

Yes, a Word copy of the certificate and a copy will be made available on the AML Certificate pages of our website.

A Word copy will also be available at the bottom of the AML Certificate tab, when you log in to the portal in the AML section of the members area.  Please note that theses copies of the certificate are for reference only and your AML Certificate must be completed online.

The time taken to complete the Certificate will be dependent on a range of factors within your business, for example the information systems you use or staff knowledge. It is recommended you begin completing the Certificate as soon as possible. Please note, while it may take some time to complete it in the first year, you will then have a good base from which to complete the Certificate going forward.

Having a system in place to record information necessary for completion of your AML Certificate going forward is recommended and your case management provider may be able to help you.

Accuracy is important when completing the certificate, as the answers you provide allow the Society to profile the risks inherent across the sector, and at individual practice level. It also supports us in adopting a risk-based approach to our supervisory inspection regime, minimising impact to both the Society and those practice's selected for inspection

The information we request is information we expect Practice Units to collate in order to satisfy regulatory and practice rule requirements, and will allow practice's to demonstrate good AML control and governance to the Society in line with LSAG Guidance. 
Firms should therefore be able to answer the questions posed with a high level of accuracy, based on records held by the practice.

To help you answer, please familiarise yourself with the guidance available on this page, as well as checking the information 'pop up' boxes where they appear as an ‘I’ next to questions within the Certificate.

Following that you can contact 
aml@lawscot.org.uk if you continue having difficulty providing an answer to a question.

The MLRO should log in to the portal using their individual details rather than firm login details. The MLRO must submit the form. A designated person may be set up to enter information into the portal but the MLRO remains responsible for the information entered and must submit the form.

The MLRO should email registrar@lawscot.org.uk  to name a designated person. They should provide full name, company, business address, phone number, email address and date of birth of the designated person. That person will then be assigned specific log-in details to allow them access to the form.

NO.

Previously as part of the AML Certificate process you were also required to submit a copy of your Practice Wide Risk Assessment (PWRA). Whilst the requirement to maintain a PWRA remains a statutory obligation within the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (Reg. 18) and you should already have one in place, there is no longer a requirement to provide a copy of this along with your 2023 AML Certificate. 

Should you require further assistance, the AML Toolkit on our website has a Practice Wide Risk Assessment template should you require one.

No, you should not complete the Certificate if you are registered outside of Scotland.

The responses will be used to assign inherent AML risk profiles across our supervised population. An inherent AML risk profile is a consideration of your firm’s AML risk before any mitigating controls are put into place and is therefore not a reflection of, or judgment on, your policies, controls and procedures or your firm’s ability to mitigate risk. The results of any analysis will inform our risk-based approach to supervision.

The data is stored in our internal data management system along with all other information about firms that we hold. The data is also drawn down into a protected Excel dashboard platform to allow any risk analysis to take place. For more information on our Privacy Policy please visit our website.

We currently intend to store  data for up to five years for each AML Certificate return.

We do not intend to share your data outside of the regulatory functions of the Law Society of Scotland. However, where our regulator (OPBAS) carries out any audit of our files, they may have sight of the data as part of that audit function. Collated or anonymised data may be used to educate or inform governmental departments as well as our membership. At all times we remain bound by the reporting obligations contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and other legislation.

Previously any practice which we recorded as starting after 1 July in the 'Relevant Period' was not required to complete the AML Certificate for the year in which they started operating.

However, we now require all practices within the scope of the AML Regulations to complete a return for the period which they have been operating within the 'Relevant Period'.

These practices will then be required to complete the AML Certificates in full each year thereafter.

No, the Certificate can be completed over a number of sessions, but make sure you use the 'Select Firm' box before you log out or your changes may not be saved.

A hand holding a pen over a spreadsheet next to glasses and a keyboard

AML Certificate 2022 results

Our anti-money laundering (AML) Risk Manager, Jenni Rodgers, provides an update on the key insights and analysis from the data that practices provided in the 2022 AML Certificate.

Updated AML Supervisory Annual Report

You can read our AML Supervisory Annual Report for 2022.