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What UK readers couldn’t get enough of in 2022 - the top five blog posts revealed

2022 saw a big shift in the geo-political climate and a bedding in of the new hybrid working world. These two developments are reflected in the blogs our subscribers were most interested in reading. Readers remain focused on keeping up to speed with economic crime reform, developments relating to the crack down on dirty money and adapting to a hybrid working world.  Last year's focus on crypto-crime and bribery and corruption topics were replaced with sanctions and individual accountability developments.  Here's a reminder of our top five most read blogs this year:

  1. Sanctions: The UK sanctions imposed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine undoubtedly put intense pressure on businesses to review existing commercial arrangements and tighten sanctions compliance systems and controls.  Our blog post on Mistaken breach of UK financial sanctions - possible exposure and what to do considered the potential ramifications of an inadvertent breach, and practical steps to take. 
  2. New laws to tackle dirty money: The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 was rushed through Parliament in March in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In Economic Crime Act - what businesses need to know,  we looked at the changes of most relevance to businesses including: (i) the lowered liability threshold for imposition of a civil monetary penalty for breaching financial sanctions; (ii) the expanded remit of the existing Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) tool, and; (iii) a new identity register for beneficial owners of overseas entities holding UK property.
  3. The role of the MLRO: Continuing with the theme of fighting dirty money, in MLROs in the spotlight – what does the FCA expect? we considered three key areas where firms and individuals might wish to focus their attention to help ensure effective operation of the MLRO function and manage financial crime risks. The role of the MLRO has been under increasing scrutiny from the FCA.
  4. Possible changes to the SMCR: HM Treasury announced as part of its sweeping “Edinburgh Reforms” that it intends to commission a review of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR).   In The UK Senior Managers and Certification regime - back to the drawing board?  we considered what the most likely outcome might be of such a review.
  5. Use of unauthorised communication applications for business: With remote and hybrid working arrangements now the norm for many firms in the wake of the pandemic, risks of misconduct have become heightened by the increased use of unmonitored and/or encrypted communication applications to exchange business-related information. This area is the subject of ever-growing regulatory scrutiny, both in the U.S. and by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.  In Enforcement risks for firms - unauthorised communication applications: we considered what steps firms can take to help protect themselves against the risk of future regulatory enforcement action.

We will continue to monitor developments in 2023.  There is much unfinished business from 2022, including another Economic Crime Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament, and the long awaited government response to the Law Commission report on options for corporate criminal liability reform.  

These blog posts all appeared on the Allen & Overy Investigations Insight blog, which focuses on UK and cross-border financial crime and investigations issues. Use our sign-up button below to become a subscriber.