LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Britain will create a new watchdog to coordinate a currently splintered approach by professional bodies to detecting money-laundering, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
At the moment, 25 associations, most of them representing accountancy and legal firms, watch out for movements of money raised through crime, potentially allowing money-launderers to exploit different approaches, the ministry said.
"The creation of the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) will ensure consistent high standards across the regime, whilst imposing the minimum possible burden on legitimate business," the ministry said.
OPBAS, which will have powers to penalise sectoral bodies for breaches of anti-money laundering rules, will be housed in the Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator tasked with overseeing markets and conduct in the financial system. It will be funded through a new fee on professional body supervisors.
Britain published updated draft money-laundering regulations on Wednesday as it sought to bring its rules in line with international standards, the ministry said. (Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Alistair Smout)