Our consultants advise international and domestic payment service providers, including banks, payment institutions, e-money institutions and other businesses wishing to offer payment products. We have extensive experience assisting firms in their compliance with the UK and EU payments and e-money regulatory regimes. Through our well-established relationships with local law firms around the globe, we also offer ROW multi-jurisdictional advice on for international firms. Our objective is to assist clients in integrating their compliance policies on a global basis minimising operational variations wherever possible.
We were responsible for undertaking the first authorisation of a Payment Institution in the UK and the EU, and have assisted businesses in seeking authorisations on a regular basis.
We advise clients on core obligations relating to licensing requirements, safeguarding of funds and corporate governance structures.
Flawless Money has dedicated experts to advise on the negative scope of the UK and EU payments regimes including exclusions under the payments and e-money regulations, such as the UK and EU Limited Network Exclusion, Electronic Communication Exclusion and Technical Service Provider Exclusion, and other safe harbours that may be available in ROW.
We advise and represent the interests of our clients when major incidents occur as well as assisting with timely reporting obligations, notifications and timelines, and recommending good practices.
HM Treasury launches Payment Services Regulations Review and Call for Evidence
Central Bank of Ireland issues Dear CEO letter re supervisory findings and expectations for payment and electronic money (e-money) firms
PSR on Digital Payments Initiative: Barriers to using digital payments
Flawless Money has been at the forefront of the electronic money regulatory space, advising on innovative regulatory structures to enable businesses to offer their services on a pan European basis. Our team led the first authorisation of an electronic money institution in the UK and the EU.
We have since led industry engagement with regulators on countless issues, have assisted in developing innovative business models and have advised on the interpretation of regulatory provisions impacting products, business practices and operations.
Our consultants proposed and developed exemptions from anti money laundering customer due diligence obligations for low value e-money payments, and succeeded in having acceptance for simplified due diligence processes in both the UK and EU e-money regimes.
Our consultants continue to be engaged with regulators on the evolution of the concept of e-money, its regulatory treatment and the impact of distributed ledger technology in implementing the regulatory framework to crypto equivalents of e-money, such as fiat backed stable coins.
We advise on e-money in various form factors, whether account based, token, voucher, card or mobile app based, and are also engaged in understanding the impact of Central Bank Issued Digital Currencies (CBDC) on e-money businesses.
AML and Financial Crime
Compliance with anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorist financing (CTF) regulations as well as sanctions regimes are some of the most significant challenges faced by payment service providers.
Our team comprises consultants with extensive experience of AML & CTF regulations in multiple jurisdictions both in the UK and EU as well as the ROW. We have also been involved in the development of industry guidance for the e-money, payments and crypto asset industry, as well as in engaging with legislators and regulators in consultations and implementations of various legislative frameworks.
We assist our clients by providing expert advice on regulatory obligations and we have represented clients with the Financial Conduct Authority, securing favourable outcomes.
We carry out staged regulatory investigations to prepare for FCA visits and reviews, and conduct regular AML audits to test and evaluate compliance programmes and provide recommendations in the case deficiencies are found.
Our international clients engage us to develop and implement a risk-based approach to AML/CTF/Sanctions compliance that is tailored to individual products as well as advise on the duties and liabilities of designated individuals and the governing board.
Flawless Money has dedicated experts for drafting policies and procedures addressing key AML obligations such as internal and external suspicious activity reporting and customer due diligence (CDD), including advising on simplified and enhanced CDD, as well as electronic CDD. We can also advise on the implementation of national risk assessments, the UK Joint Money Laundering Steering Group Guidance, as well as EU Supra National Risk Assessments. Our staff can assist in designing risk assessments focusing on product, customer, channel and geographic risks and developing policies that are sensitive to the risks posed.
We provide general AML training for staff and specialised AML training for MLROs, the board of directors and the nominated officer.
Our consultants have participated in FATF hearings, industry groups and regularly assist clients in formulating responses to public consultations on financial crime.
Our financial crime practice extends to issues arising from fraud including regulatory developments relating to authorised push payment scams (APP scams) and the liability of payment service providers for such fraud.
Our managing partner, Dr Thaer Sabri, advised on and successfully obtained the first UK e-money authorisation in 2002 and has since advised and obtained authorisations for many of the current UK e-money issuers. He also advised and successfully obtained the first Payment Institution authorisation in 2009 and has since advised on many more.
Our full-service authorisation offering can be tailored and includes advice on the appropriate permissions to support service delivery. This entails performing an analysis of the services provided by the applicant’s business to assess which permissions are required and whether any exclusions may be utilised. It may be possible to structure services under different regulatory interpretations, each with consequent implications for the business.
We work with the applicant to produce the application package for submission to the relevant regulator, including the requisite forms and operational documents. We can support all required areas of an application, in particular: IT security, legal advice and drafting (through our sister company, FM Legal), AML and regulatory compliance.
This process can also support variations of permissions for existing authorised entities and will, in both instances, utilise Flawless Money’s full range of expertise that distinguishes us from our competitors.
We also offer practical assistance to facilitate the establishment of the applicant’s business, including incorporation, legal and recruitment services.
Flawless Money work at the forefront of new areas of crypto asset regulation advising crypto asset and fintech firms engaging in the provision of innovative crypto asset related services including stablecoins, NFTs and other crypto assets. Our experts have both a technical understanding of the technology and its implementation in financial services and NFT products. We have engaged with the development of regulatory regimes in the UK and the EU as well as many other jurisdictions. Our team members also participate in a number of international crypto forums, and currently contribute the development of guidelines relating to the Travel Rule.
Our consultants’ involvement in the crypto space dates back to the predecessor technologies of public key cryptography, PKI and their implementations in financial services such as that of DigiCash, Mondex and early attempts to create digital bearer instruments.
We have experience in the application of financial services regulation to novel and innovative services, and seek to comment on the evolving regulatory regimes for crypto assets, whether relating to financial crime, or to prudential and conduct of business regulation. We are also committed to a risk based and proportionate perimeter, arguing for example for the exclusion of most NFTs from financial services regulation.
At the EU level, we have advised on MiCA, covering key provisions relating to the prudential framework for e-money and asset referenced tokens, the exclusion for NFTs and the treatment of significant service providers. We are currently focussing on the development of level II text comprising RTS, ITS, and guidelines to be prepared by the EBA and ESMA.
We have also been involved in commenting on the OECD Crypto Asset Regulatory Framework (CARF), addressing tax reporting, and its implementation in the EU through the revised Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC). We have also advised on the EU AML package, namely, crypto asset related provisions within the AML Regulation and the updated Fund Transfer Regulation (FTR or Travel Rule) now also addressing crypto assets, including EBA guidelines and more broadly Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.
We have advised on the crypto asset service provider registration requirements across Member States based on the implementation of the 5MLD, including the triggers of the requirement to register, scope of services covered, together with the varying regulatory and practical requirements of registration.
Within the UK, we have successfully helped clients with crypto asset registrations, as well as advised on the UK’s evolving regulatory approach to crypto assets, stablecoins and decentralised finance.
Some key recent regulatory developments that we have advised clients on include advertising regulations such as the UK financial promotions regime planned to be introduced by the UK Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022, as well as the broader impact of Section 20 of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022 on crypto asset service providers.