The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced that its mandatory diversity survey will be due sometime in the summer of 2023. In 2021 the survey was due 2 August and it is likely that the timeline will be similar this time.

The SRA has said that it will provide four weeks notification prior to the actual deadline.

Which size firms are required to report diversity data?

All firms, of any size, even sole practitioners will have to collect and report the data to the SRA. However, in-house lawyers will not need to report.

How do firms collect the SRA’s diversity data?

In order to make this mandatory report to the SRA, firms will need to collect diversity data, based on a questionnaire, from all staff. The firms will then have to collate the data and organise it by specific job roles before submitting it to the SRA.

You can use the SRA’s Word version of the questionnaire or VinciWork’s SRA diversity survey data collection tool.

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Omnitrack’s end-to-end AML client onboarding solution has launched a strategic partnership with Thirdfort, a leading know-your-customer and anti-money laundering platform.

Thirdfort utilises real-time access to government registers around the world and best-in-class Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) discovery. Over 950 businesses already rely on Thirdfort to carry out their AML checks.

The partnership between VinciWorks and Thirdfort will help to ensure that firm-wide client onboarding processes stay centralised within one system (Omnitrack), without the need for multiple applications to complete the onboarding process.

“Partnering with Thirdfort creates an end-to-end client onboarding experience, with ID verification seamlessly integrated with Omnitrack’s AML workflows. This is a leading solution for UK and international law firms that is more comprehensive and elegant than anything else on the market. We look forward to continuing work with the Thirdfort team as our products grow together.”

Josh Goodhardt, CEO at VinciWorks

About Omnitrack’s AML onboarding solution

Ongoing Monitoring for AML

VinciWorks’ AML client onboarding solution facilitates a seamless onboarding experience for organisations of all sizes. Our solution provides regulatory confidence through up-to-date guidance and best practice. Use our centralised platform to conduct risk assessments, client due diligence (CDD) and ongoing monitoring on your clients.

To learn more about how we can help you with your client onboarding compliance, complete the short form below and someone will get in touch.

What are the implications for firms that fall short?

You conducted your customer due diligence (CDD) when you onboarded your client. It’s all part of your effort to stay compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations.

But the regulations are constantly changing, your client’s circumstances are evolving and the implications for making a mistake are getting increasingly high. You need to keep track of the changing risks. You need to stay on top of compliance requirements to avoid exposure to financial crime and penalties.

It is no longer sufficient to do your due diligence at onboarding and in periodic intervals. 

Firms need to perform ongoing monitoring for AML to capture any developments, update customer profiles and keep track of the changing risks.

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As regulations are tightening and the risk landscape is continually evolving, firms are facing increasing pressure to make sure that their Anti Money Laundering (AML) compliance programme is effective. Beyond the implications of fines or damage to reputation is the very real danger of disruptions to operations and in particular criminal liability. 

It’s critical for firms to assess if their AML framework is strong and robust enough to prevent and detect instances where the business can be manipulated to clean money or to finance terrorism. 

An independent audit provides this assurance and enables the firm to address issues before they become a problem or are detected by the authorities.

Guide to AML audits

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The UK has published the final version of the updated regulations for UK Mandatory Disclosure Rules (MDR). These regulations will come into force on 28 March 2023, and any arrangements entered into on or after this date will need to be reported to HMRC under these rules. The new MDR rules will replace the existing DAC6 regulations, though HMRC have confirmed that the DAC6 reporting portal will remain open for another month to allow arrangements entered before 28 March to be reported under DAC6.

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What are SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)?

SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) are lawsuits that are filed with the intention of silencing, intimidating, or punishing individuals or organisations for exercising their right to free speech on matters of public concern. These lawsuits are often brought by private parties, such as corporations or individuals, against individuals or organisations that have spoken out against them or their activities.

Sometimes, the goal of bringing a SLAPP is not necessarily to win the case, but to burden the defendant with the cost of litigation and the stress of defending themselves, ultimately discouraging them from speaking out.

SLAPPs are often used by corporations, politicians, or other powerful entities against individuals, activists, or grassroots organisations who are speaking out on issues such as environmental protection, civil rights, or consumer advocacy. SLAPPs can take many forms, including defamation lawsuits, harassment suits, and even lawsuits filed under the guise of intellectual property infringement.

The SRAs new warning notice on SLAPPs

Recently, the SRA issued a new warning notice on SLAPPs, in response to reports that solicitors are bringing allegations without merit at the behest of wealthy clients to stifle freedom of expression and prevent the media from reporting on issues of public interest such as academic research, whistleblowing, campaigning or investigative journalism.

The warning notice makes clear that acting in this way would constitute a breach of a number of SRA Principles and Rules in its Code of Conduct for Individuals and Firms. 

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Domestic abuse can take many different forms and is not always easy to spot – in fact, even the person on the receiving end may not recognise it for what it is. There can be many reasons why people experiencing domestic abuse are reluctant to speak up or seek help, from fears around their personal safety to concerns about being judged by their friends and family, employer or colleagues.

With many people working from home for a protracted period during the Covid pandemic, instances of domestic abuse have increased dramatically and had a devastating impact both on employees’ physical and mental health and on their performance at work. Being able to spot where domestic abuse may be occurring and taking appropriate action to protect and support their staff is therefore a crucial aspect of employers’ duty of care. 

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Using conditional descriptions to offer translations

Multi-national businesses regularly send forms to suppliers, clients, staff and contractors across the globe. The challenge is ensuring that each end user is seeing the form that is most relevant to their role, jurisdiction and, of course, their native language. Most businesses have tried to tackle this by either sending a list of forms for them to choose from or preparing multiple forms and sending the one most relevant to each user. But there is a better way. With Omnitrack’s versatile conditional logic, you can easily build each language into the form.

How to use conditional descriptions for translations

Step 1: Add a drop-down question

Creating translation field in Omnitrack
  1. Click “Add question”
  2. Select “Drop down” 
  3. Create a “Select your language” drop down

We recommend setting a default value. If most of your end users’ language is English, make English your default value.

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Screenshot of our interactive market abuse training

It is fairly easy for firms involved in the financial markets to get caught up in illegal market abuse practices without even realising it. The temptation is great for staff members to trade on insider information or exploit the firm’s resources to try to manipulate the market. In many cases, the lines between what is acceptable and not are grey and unclear. 

VinciWorks’ new course Fraud & Market Abuse – Fundamental concepts trains staff on the concepts and rules of market abuse and fraud. It focuses on the Market Abuse Regulation 2016 (MAR), a European directive that establishes a common regulatory framework on insider dealing, market manipulation and measures to prevent market abuse across the EU. This course goes through the different types of permitted and forbidden behaviours to clarify what can and can’t be done, and under what circumstances. 

Course features:

  • Customisable training with the option to include or remove topics for different audiences
  • Interactive learning built-in throughout the course, with the ability for the administrators to track responses in order to gain insights into users’ grasp of the topics
  • Includes essential definitions and concepts as well as an overview of relevant laws and regulations
  • Includes review questions
  • Eye-catching design and an easy-to-use experience
  • Smooth, user-friendly scroll design

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand UK market abuse laws and regulations
  • Gain familiarity with the dangers of insider information
  • Clarify important concepts regarding the working of financial markets
  • Recognise red flags and reporting procedures
  • Identify illegal or risky market procedures

Preview course