KYC and Financial Crime Lawyer

Experience level: Intermediate
Term: Permanent
Working hours: Full-time
Department: Risk
Location: Basingstoke
Company background

Penningtons Manches Cooper is a leading UK and international law firm which provides high quality legal advice tailored to both businesses and individuals. We address the specific objectives of each client through our flair and technical expertise and offer a personal service founded on a strong team ethic.

Today, we have UK offices in the City of London, Basingstoke, BirminghamCambridge, Guildford, Oxford and Reading while our growing overseas network stretches from Asia to America through our presence in Singapore, Piraeus, Paris, Madrid, Sao Paulo and San Francisco. With 141 partners and over 850 people in total, our main areas of practice are dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, real estate, private client and family.

We have established a strong reputation in a variety of sectors, particularly private wealth, shipping, technology and property. Our lawyers are also recognised for their expertise in life sciences, education, retail, sports and entertainment and international trade. In these areas, we're acknowledged for our unparalleled market insight.

By joining forces with the partners and staff of Thomas Cooper in July 2019, we have added significant depth to our core practice. The move builds on the expansion of our litigation and arbitration offering and has introduced us to the maritime community in which Thomas Cooper has long been a key player.

Our continuing commitment to excellence is backed by a track record which dates back nearly 300 years. We pay great attention to matching your requirements with the right skills, delivered cost effectively and within the appropriate timescale.

Among our clients we count multi-national corporations, public companies, professional partnerships, banks and financial institutions as well as private individuals, owner managed businesses and start-ups. We are conscious that our culture and close working relationships are vital assets and we are determined to maintain these as we increase in size. 

Our broad international focus is supported by well-established links with law firms throughout the world. Penningtons Manches Cooper is a member of Multilaw and the European Law Group, networks with representatives in over 100 countries, and many of our lawyers play leading roles in various international bodies.

Summary of role

The main objectives of the role are to assist the MLRO and Deputy MLRO in ensuring the firm’s compliance with financial crime legislation and its application of sound risk management by:

  • Assisting with overseeing the firm’s KYC and CDD processes
  • Monitoring the firm’s compliance with relevant legislation, making recommendations as necessary
  • Assisting with implementation of procedures
  • Providing internal training on financial crime risks
  • Reviewing and writing policies

The role requires a proactive approach not only to the development of processes, procedures, rules and mechanisms for identifying and managing financial crime risk and ensuring compliance, but also to promote them within the firm. Commercial awareness of the necessary balance between risk management and excessive constraint, an understanding of the commercial value of good compliance and a committed approach to bringing quality and continuous improvement to the business are also required.

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. Internal compliance enquiries
    • Responding to internal enquiries from fee earning and central teams relating to financial crime and sanctions compliance, risk management, client due diligence requirements and the firm’s procedures
    • Dealing with enquiries from clients and external agencies relating to financial crime and sanctions
    • Assisting with client due diligence research including research as to ownership and control, source of wealth and source of funds
    • Reviewing reports and recommendations from the KYC Analyst; making further enquiries and taking steps as requested by the MLRO or Deputy MLRO
  2. Financial Crime compliance, KYC, CDD and Sanctions procedure
    • Working with the Deputy MLRO, overseeing the operation of the firm’s KYC and CDD procedures, with an emphasis on matters requiring Enhanced Due Diligence
    • Reviewing and advising upon the firm’s exposure to particular risks, in conjunction with the KYC Analyst.
    • Monitoring changes to financial crime risk assessments published by the SRA, UK FIU and/or EFCC, EU and FATF or other relevant domestic or international body and advising the MLRO and Deputy MLRO accordingly
    • Recommending and implementing procedures where possible
    • Drafting Suspicious Activity Reports and liaising with the National Crime Agency as requested
    • Assisting with the recording and reporting of transactions required by DAC6
    • Maintaining an up to date understanding of economic sanctions regimes focusing on the UK, EU and US. Monitoring the firm’s compliance with such regimes and reporting to the MLRO and Deputy MLRO with recommendations as appropriate
    • Working with the Learning and Development team to ensure all partners and staff undergo regular training. Identifying training needs and delivering bespoke training as appropriate, focusing on those working in high risk areas. Contributing to the preparation and delivery of internal firmwide risk briefings
    • Reviewing the firm’s compliance with financial crime legislation including the implementation of reasonable procedures to satisfy the Criminal Finances Act 2017, and the firm’s compliance with its own Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Risk Assessment
    • Keeping up to date with developments in the combating of financial crime and disseminating that knowledge within the team and the firm
  3. Management reporting
    • Contributing as requested to the analysis of firm wide risks and the preparation of reports on this to the Risk and Compliance Partner, providing recommendations as required.
    • Assisting other team members as requested in collating information on risks associated with the firm’s business and internal operations
  4. Systems implementation and maintenance
    • Assisting the team in encouraging best practice in the approach to risk, and a culture of proper risk management and regulatory compliance throughout the firm, balancing compliance with the firm’s financial interests
    • Assisting with the review of potential IT solutions to meet the firm’s financial crime objectives, together with the ongoing review of how such systems are configured and used to meet those objectives.
    • Working with the MLRO, Deputy MLRO and KYC Analyst to make regular improvement to the firm’s KYC processes based on experience and on any changes to legislation, regulatory requirements or best practice within the profession
    • Drafting and reviewing financial crime compliance policies as requested by the MLRO or Deputy MLRO
    • Work with others in the team to create processes to streamline necessary tasks such as conflict checking, client identification, client acceptance, matter opening and establishing terms of engagement.
    • Assisting with the maintenance of the firm’s practice manual, transition of this information to the intranet and keeping these sources up to date to reflect regulatory and procedural changes.
  5. Other
    • Collaborating with other central and fee earning teams where appropriate to develop workable procedures and policies that meet the firm’s objectives whilst ensuring robust compliance and risk management.
    • Assisting the firm to meet its obligation of cooperation and transparency with its regulators, including the preparations required should the firm be asked to answer to a regulator as part of an audit, investigation, enquiry or otherwise.
    • Horizon scanning for possible future changes to financial crime and sanctions legislation
    • Taking responsibility for own personal development in order to keep skills and knowledge up to date, including attending any training as and when required and staying abreast of changing legislation.
    • Carrying out any further duties as required by the firm from time to time.
Essential and desirable criteria
  1. Applicants should ideally be qualified solicitors with three years’ post-qualification experience, including experience of risk management, compliance and financial crime and sanctions legislation. Compliance professionals from other regulated sectors such as banking and accounting will be considered although such candidate must understand or have the ability to quickly acquire an understanding of the nature of the firm’s services and the regulation applicable to legal services.

  2. Sound understanding or ability to acquire understanding of all types of complex corporate and trust like structures.

  3. A strong team player who is persuasive, with highly developed communication and influencing skills and the resilience to cope with those who may need more encouragement than others.

  4. Excellent oral and written communication skills are essential, with the ability to vary the approach to suit the target audience, which may include the Management Board, individual staff members, external agencies or clients.

  5. Strong commercial awareness with the ability to demonstrate a strategic approach to risk management and a willingness to challenge the status quo and suggest change.

  6. Excellent organisational skills.

  7. High degree of self-motivation and a self-starting approach with a passion for compliance, risk management and business improvement

  8. Academic ability to interpret rules and regulations coupled with a practical and common sense approach to their application in the firm.

  9. Strong IT skills.