I am the firm’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer and would like to know whether or not we should keep our Customer Due Diligence (CDD) papers separate from the client’s main file of papers.
It is not mandatory to hold CDD material separately from the client file for each retainer, but you should consider doing so as it may be needed by different practice groups in your firm, cross-referencing the main file appropriately.
Depending on the size and sophistication of your firm's record storage procedures, you may wish to:
- scan the verification material and hold it electronically
- take photocopies of the CDD material and hold it in hard copy with a statement that the original has been seen
- accept certified copies of CDD material and hold them in hard copy
- keep electronic copies or hard copies of the results of any electronic verification checks
- record reference details of the CDD material seen
Any records of suspicions and disclosures should be kept on a separate file to ensure that they are not inappropriately disclosed to the client or third parties in order to avoid committing the offences of tipping off and prejudicing an investigation.
For further information please see chapter 3 of the draft anti-money laundering guidance for the legal sector.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.
Have you got a practice question?
Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.