MLRO vs the AML/CFT Compliance Officer: What's the Difference?


by Sean Moffatt, Senior Manager & MLRO

While many may perceive the MLRO and AML/CFT officer roles as interchangeable, the reality is different. In fact, some businesses would often merge these functions. However, even if an individual assumes both roles, it is essential to understand the importance of keeping these functions separate for effective governance and compliance.

On the blog, we explore the role of the MLRO versus the AML/CFT officer.

Why do we have to have a Money Laundering Reporting Officer

There is a legal requirement for all Isle of Man licenced gaming companies to appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (even if they are not yet trading). This is set down in the Isle of Man Gambling Code 2019 at Paragraph 21.

Do we need an AML/CFT Compliance Officer?

Yes, in fact all licenced operators must have an AML/CFT Compliance Officer appointed even if not currently trading. Whilst an AML/CFT Compliance Officer does not need to hold a professional AML/CFT qualification they do need to meet GSC prescribed requirements, demonstrating their expertise and competency in financial crime.

Is there a difference between a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) and the AML/CFT Compliance Officer?

Yes, whilst the role of the MLRO has been around for several years, the AML/CFT Officer is a relatively new concept, providing companies with the opportunity of sharing the compliance burden between financial crime specialisms. It is usually the size and complexity of an operator that will determine whether the MLRO can hold both roles or not.

The key difference is that an AML/CFT Compliance Officer is responsible for the implementation of risk-based AML/CFT procedures in line with AML/CFT Code, monitor performance, address issues and report to the board of the operator, whereas the MLRO is responsible for responsible for the SAR reporting process and handling of SARs whereas the AML/CFT Compliance Officer is responsible for ensuring that all Code requirements are complied with, tested and reported on to senior management.

Ultimately, the role of the MLRO is a complex one, requiring sound technical understanding of the Code reporting requirements and of key parts of POCA and ATCA, including the different types of disclosures and “consent” and therefore the Code states that the MLRO must have sufficient seniority and authority. The GSC expects an MLRO to be a managerial post that carries influence that must have sufficient time and resource to properly discharge their responsibilities.

The Option to Appoint a Deputy MLRO (DMLRO)

As well as the above two roles, there is also the option (which is strongly recommended as best practice) to appoint a Deputy MLRO. Not only can the DMLRO support the MLRO in their duties, but importantly, the appointment of the DMLRO ensures a continuity of service relating to SAR reporting should the named MLRO be unavailable due to leave or absence.

Do these roles interest you? 

It is important for anyone working within the regulated sector to understand the differences between the two roles. If you are the employee being asked to undertake the role(s) then you should be clear what each role entails. Similarly, if you are looking for person(s) to fulfil these roles it is crucial to understand the undertaking of each of the roles. Depending on the nature, scale, and complexity of your business it may not be feasible for only one person to carry out both roles.

Learn More

Amber Gaming is a specialist gaming consultancy business providing multi-jurisdictional licensing, regulatory compliance advice and professional support to clients across all areas of the gaming industry.

At Amber Gaming, we can provide specialist training (both online and face-to-face) for these roles, to facilitate your professional development in this dynamic and challenging profession, aiding current positions held; or helping you achieve your career aspirations.

If you are interested in learning more or discussing your licensing or training requirements, please feel free to reach out to us via the Contact Us form.