12.05.11 ICAEW Fine Accountant £5,000 for breach

12.05.11 ICAEW Fine Accountant £5,000 for breach

At a Disciplininary Council meeting a Mr P R Honeywell FCA was found to have failed to comply with Money Laundering Regulations2007 in that, following a practice assurance visit, he failed to:
(i) document a client due diligence review; and
(ii) identify clients for whom his firm, Honeywell (Monmouth) Limited, provides payroll services.

On 18 June 2010 the case manager wrote to Mr Honeywell asking him to provide additional information to address the outstanding issues arising from the visit. These are summarised as follows:

Details of the steps he has taken to establish the adequacy of the money laundering procedures undertaken by social services on clients that are referred to him and the basis on which he is able to rely on these procedures

Just before the hearing day, the defendant’s solicitors wrote to the tribunal putting forward various points said to be in mitigation. This included that the Practice Assurance visit had ‘passed’ the defendant’s practice in most aspects and that it was unrealistic to expect the Money Laundering Regulations to apply in relation to clients in receipt of social services funding for their care.

The tribunal did not view either of these points as mitigation. First, Chartered Accountants can be expected to comply with professional standards and partial compliance does not excuse what amounted to a wilful refusal to cooperate with the ICAEW with regard to the areas of non-compliance. In relation to the Money Laundering Regulations, whilst the defendant’s conduct did not amount to the most serious of breaches, the defendant had failed to show any willingness to engage with the ICAEW on this. Had he done so and discussed how he could carry out a modified version of identity checks and thereby compliance, the tribunal might have been more sympathetic.

It was the role of the ICAEW to maintain the standards amongst the profession of chartered accountancy. An important part of this is the Practice Assurance. An equally important part of a chartered accountant’s professional standards and indeed the protection of the public, is compliance of money laundering requirements. The defendant had fallen below the professional standards expected of chartered accountants.

The tribunal ordered that Peter Royston Honeywell FCA be severely reprimanded, pay a fine of £5,000 and costs of £2294