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Who needs to register for money laundering supervision?

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Here's your guide to understand if you need to register for money laundering supervision

Ensuring your business is fully compliant can be a stressful task. Did you know that virtual offices are regulated by HMRC under strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws? At Virtual HQ, we take pride in our commitment to compliance. Our management team includes ACAMS members who have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the sector.

To help you navigate these regulations, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide. In it, you’ll learn which business sectors are covered by the Money Laundering Regulations and which premises require registration.

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Anti-money laundering supervision

The GOV.UK website provides a comprehensive page of guidance and forms related to money laundering regulations. This resource covers everything you need to ensure compliance, including detailed information on how to register, applicable fees, the fit and proper test, reporting obligations, compliance checks, penalties, and the appeals process. By centralising all these crucial aspects, the site makes it easier for businesses to navigate the complexities of AML regulations and stay informed about their responsibilities and the steps required to meet them.

Who needs to be registered

HMRC details that the following regulations apply to:

  • Financial and credit businesses
  • Independent legal professionals
  • Accountants, tax advisers, auditors and insolvency practitioners
  • Trust and company service providers – This includes all Virtual Office providers, so check before you buy!
  • Estate agency businesses
  • Letting agency businesses
  • Casinos
  • High value dealers, including the art market

Fit and proper test

In the UK, the “fit and proper test” refers to a regulatory assessment conducted by certain authorities to determine if an individual is suitable for a particular position within a regulated industry. This test ensures that individuals who hold key roles, such as directors, managers, or significant shareholders in regulated businesses, possess the integrity, competence, and financial soundness necessary to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.

Key aspects typically evaluated in a fit and proper test may include:

  • Integrity: Assessing the individual’s honesty, trustworthiness, and ethical standards.
  • Competence: Evaluating their qualifications, knowledge, skills, and experience relevant to the role.
  • Financial Soundness: Ensuring that the individual’s financial history and current situation do not pose risks to the regulated business or its clients.

This test aims to protect consumers, maintain market integrity, and uphold public confidence in regulated industries such as finance, insurance, and certain professional services. Regulatory bodies use the results of the fit and proper test to make informed decisions about granting or maintaining individuals’ permissions to hold key positions within these sectors. It serves as a preventive measure against individuals who may pose risks due to a lack of integrity, competence, or financial stability.

What will registration mean for your business?

Registering your business for AML supervision isn’t just about ticking a box, it is about demonstrating your businesses commitment to the fight against money laundering, improving the economic system and upholding reputation and values.

If your business type is applicable and requires registration, it is a requirement that you identify your customers, conduct due diligence checks, assess your risks and conduct ongoing monitoring. At a basic level, this will involve obtaining the name, date of birth and address of your customer via documentation, gathering information from the customer and assessing whether further checks are required. It’s important to understand your responsibilities as a business before offering your services.

AML fees

Discover the current fees required for HMRC’s anti-money laundering supervision and learn how to complete payment. Currently, the fee stands at £300 per year per premises. Understanding these costs is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and continue operating within regulatory guidelines. For detailed guidance on paying these fees and any updates, visit the HMRC official website or contact them directly for assistance.

Check if a business is registered

If you’re looking to verify whether a business is registered for supervision by the relevant authorities, you can check the official records. However, keep in mind that only businesses that have completed their registration will appear. For businesses currently in the process of registering, or if you need immediate confirmation, it’s best to contact the business directly to verify their status. Remember that anyone offering registered address or virtual office services needs to be registered, so check your service provider before signing up to their service. Virtual HQ is fully compliant and registered. MLR Registration: XXML00000140310.

Report an unregistered business

It’s crucial for everyone’s protection to report unregistered businesses. By doing so, you help maintain the integrity of our financial system and ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. You can report unregistered businesses here.

Businesses not complying

HMRC is vigilant in regulating anti-money laundering (AML) laws, ensuring that businesses adhere to stringent compliance standards. In their commitment to transparency and enforcement, HMRC publicly releases the names of companies fined for non-compliance. You can view the list of these penalised companies here on the .GOV website. This not only underscores the importance of compliance but also serves as a reminder of the serious consequences of failing to meet AML obligations.

Courses and Training 

If you, like Virtual HQ, want to ensure that you are fully informed about the law regarding AML compliance, it is highly recommended to invest in courses and training to ensure you are fully aware of your obligations, and you know what to look out for. There are many providers of AML training for different industries available, but we’d suggest opting for a notable provider, such as ACAMS. HMRC also offers free webinars and advice for understanding your responsibilities.

Useful links  

Over the years, we have spent time studying all the AML guidance and here is where we recommend you take the time to read:


In conclusion, by adhering to these regulations, businesses not only avoid penalties but also contribute to a transparent and secure financial environment. Continuous education, such as through relevant training courses, further strengthens a business’s ability to meet AML obligations. Ultimately, diligent AML supervision and compliance protect consumers, uphold market confidence, and foster a robust economic system.

We hope to have provided you with some key resources and understanding in this field. If you’re looking to utilise a virtual office address for your business, by choosing Virtual HQ, you can be safe in the knowledge you’re choosing a provider backed by expertise, committed to compliance and always available for support.

Francesca's knowledge of the industry and business support is second to none. She's personally handpicked each one of our virtual office locations.

Francesca Dixon
Francesca Dixon

Managing Director