Update shines spotlight on key risks

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has issued its latest focus on key challenges facing legal firms, to help them assess exposure and manage any risk.

The Risk Outlook Spring Update, published on 23 March, supplements the SRA’s annual Risk Update, published in July each year, and identifies current priority risks. They include:

  • poor controls providing opportunities for financial misconduct: the SRA highlights issues including inadequate accounting and records systems, making it more difficult to detect irregularities. It plans to cover the problem in more detail in its Risk Outlook 2015 in July
  • money laundering: the SRA says the issue remains a key focus for its 2015 work programme and is currently visiting legal firms to discuss their money laundering controls. Last year, the SRA published warning notices on money laundering and the improper use of the client account as a banking facility
  • cybercrime: the Spring Update says cybercrime continues to represent “a significant threat” to the information and money held by law firms.

The 2014 Risk Outlook and the Risk Outlook Spring Update can be found here.

At Moore Thompson, we work closely with a number of solicitors’ practices and understand that Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration (COFAs) may need support to ensure that their firm’s financial systems and controls are robust and fit for purpose.

We can provide expert support to the COFA to help identify weaknesses in systems and implement more efficient practices, to help reduce and manage the risk of financial misconduct.

We can also assist with regular reviews to check any breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules identified by the COFA and assess whether any breaches have been missed. For more information, or to discuss in more detail how we can help, please contact us.