KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blog08 min Read


KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blogJuly 25, 2023

What is Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO)?

Money laundering is essential for criminal organizations that want to use illegally obtained funds effectively. HMRC has allegedly imposed fines totaling £3.2 million on 240 businesses in the last 12 months, with the majority of those imposed for failure to register on time. The role of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) is the most important in the field of financial compliance. This blog will examine the MLRO's responsibilities in the fight against money laundering.

M Abd'al Bari

Research Associate

What is MLRO?

The Money laundering reporting officer’s (MLRO) mission is to combat money laundering and terrorist financing within the organization. Its primary function is to notify the appropriate authorities about money laundering, suspicious activities, and individuals. The UK’s Money Laundering Regulations of 2007 were the first to establish the role of MLRO. The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 have since replaced those regulations, but the definition of an anti-money laundering officer has not changed.

As a money laundering compliance officer, the MLRO is critical in assessing the potential impact on the company’s customer relationships and exposure to criminal behavior, laws, regulations, and disciplinary actions. They keep a close eye on all activities related to the AML process. To effectively carry out these responsibilities, MLROs must have authority over and access to all client business files and information, allowing them to follow procedures and make informed decisions.

When multiple entities are involved, appointing a single MLRO can oversee the AML process for all of them. Business leaders who want an MLRO should be aware of the essential requirements. Furthermore, the MLRO can fill in for the appointed director, who is in charge of investigating business activities, reporting suspicious AML efforts, and liaising with the NCA (National Crime Agency) for assistance in matters involving illegal behavior.

AMLR regulation also emphasizes the importance of senior management employees taking responsibility for their firms’ AML/CFT programs, including ensuring appropriate board oversight and the appointment of a compliance officer – the MLRO role.

The Role of MLRO:

MLROs have a variety of important responsibilities in addition to their primary role as AML compliance officers. One of their primary responsibilities is to manage the flow of information, suspicions, and other pertinent details about potential money laundering activities. To be successful as a Money Laundering Reporting Officer, three qualities are required: integrity, honesty, and dedication to the cause. They are then required to report this information to the appropriate authorities, such as the National Crime Agency, as soon as possible.

MLROs are expected to perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis, including:

  • Creating policies and procedures for AML controls.
  • Keeping accurate records and filing internal and external reports as needed.
  • Performing Customer Due Diligence and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.
  • Reviewing the company’s internal policies and procedures on a regular basis, as well as establishing professional relationships required for the detection and reporting of money laundering schemes in accordance with national laws.
  • Money laundering officers, MLROs should provide initial and ongoing training to employees within their organization.
  • They are frequently required to communicate with senior management and key stakeholders in order to discuss potential risks or exposure to money laundering activities and develop mitigation strategies.

Given their extensive responsibilities, Money laundering reporting officers may delegate specific tasks to deputy MLROs on occasion in order to effectively manage their workload.

Who is Eligible to Serve as an MLRO?

FSA in regulation M 7.1 has approved the appointment of an individual as MRO. The MLRO is a senior official with authority over a number of organizations and departments. The service is usually unpaid and requires regular reporting to the MLRO. It is an excellent career opportunity in KYC AML compliance. The appointment of an MLRO is subject to certain conditions and requirements. Few of them are

  • Before applying for FSA approval, obtain the necessary and relevant training.
  • Having knowledge and education in the company’s field of work, as well as significant knowledge in compliance and AML regulations.
  • Keeping up with new regulations, rules, and restrictions, as well as marketing and AML procedures.
  • Completion of relevant field-related courses such as the International Diploma in Anti-Money Laundering or the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certification.
  • Experience in the legal field is helpful.
  • In the case of small businesses, the owner or one of the directors can serve as the MLRO.

MLRO Responsibilities:

Money laundering reporting officers (MLROs) are required by law in many countries, particularly in the financial sector. They are crucial in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing by detecting and reporting suspicious activity. The MLRO acts as a liaison between regulatory agencies, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders.

While specific responsibilities may vary depending on the size and type of organization, the core tasks of an MLRO remain consistent. Their role is critical in ensuring compliance with AML and CTF regulations and protecting the financial system’s integrity

  • Developing and implementing AML and CTF policies and procedures
  • Conducting ongoing risk assessments,
  • Providing AML and CTF training to staff,
  • Monitoring transactions and client activities for suspicious behavior
  • Investigating and reporting suspicious transactions to appropriate authorities
  • Maintaining records of AML and CTF activities.
  • Ensure that KYC and KYB procedures are followed.

Also Read : Exploring the World’s Biggest Money Laundering Scandals

What is the Difference between MLRO and Compliance Officer?

The common role of a compliance officer and money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) is to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Their areas of focus and responsibilities, however, differ.

A compliance officer’s responsibilities include ensuring overall compliance with various legal and regulatory requirements in various areas of an organization. They create and implement policies and procedures to meet these obligations, as well as collaborate with other departments. An MLRO, on the other hand, focuses solely on AML and CTF regulations. They monitor and report suspicious financial activity related to money laundering and terrorist financing to ensure organizational compliance. Money laundering compliance officers are critical in identifying and reporting potential money laundering cases, as well as maintaining AML and CTF records.

Wrap Up:

The Money Laundering Reporting Officer’s (MLRO) role is critical in combating money laundering and ensuring legal compliance. Money laundering compliance officers assist organizations in developing effective AML programs, identifying and mitigating risks, and maintaining the integrity of the financial system through their experience and understanding of AML regulations. MLRO’s responsibilities are to prevent money laundering and protect their organization’s reputation and credibility by exercising due diligence in their work.


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M Abd'al Bari
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Muhammed Abd'al Bari is a certified Research Professional of KYC/AML Guide. Connect with Muhammed on LinkedIn