The Joffe Trust is continuing to bring experts together to identify how to fix the UK’s dirty money problem.

In September 2023, we convened a multi-stakeholder group to identify concrete actions following the Wilton Park conference. They range from supporting the current Economic Crime Plan to tackling longer term challenges.

These actions combine with the analysis from the strategic retreat for civil society, held in July. As a result, the next set of priorities is starting to take shape, for further ambitious and realistic reform that can drive fundamental change. They build on recent progress, including the impressive new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act.

In our analysis, the next priorities include:

1. Supporting implementation of the new Economic Crime Acts and Economic Crime Plan. Their potential can only be realised through detailed work over several years to come. The devil will be in the detail, involving many agencies, technical issues, secondary laws and unforeseen events. Questions remain about government leadership & parliamentary scrutiny of the overall agenda.

2. Maintaining political attention on the issue of dirty money, including through a General Election and potential new government. The current spotlight, driven by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, has been crucial but may now fade. As well as continuing media work, there may be scope to develop powerful links & narratives with people working on other major issues impacted by dirty money, such as climate change, inequality, international development, human rights or national security.

3. Consistent, evidence-based advocacy for (a) adequate resources for law enforcement agencies, associated with high level reform plans, and (b) promoting and working through transparency reforms, such as ownership registers of UK entities that are easy to access, as well as tackling other areas of secrecy.

4. Engaging the professions ever more effectively, so they can play a stronger role as part of the solution to the UK’s dirty money problem. This could include strengthening norms and incentives for practitioners to make ethical choices and avoid suspect activity, and making it easier for firms to meet regulations and support law enforcement.

5. Longer term reform of the Anti-Money Laundering architecture, by engaging with the Financial Action Task Force and its international standards. This gets to the heart of the compliance regime which is estimated to cost UK financial services a staggering £34bn per year. It could include helping the standards evolve to focus ever more effectively on the overall aim of stopping crime, as well as potentially issues around governance and scrutiny.

Here at the Joffe Trust, we will use these emerging priorities to inform our work and funding decisions. We are also excited to continue supporting the multi-sector effort. We know that further progress will continue to need a huge team effort, with new alliances and more funding than we can provide. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in discussing connections to your work.

Dirty money fuels corruption, crime and human rights abuses around the world. It undermines effective government and holds back the climate response. Together, we can clean it out of the UK.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Photo by Andy Whittle on Flickr