PEP. I despair...

Several people and companies that I know are being driven out of business.

They are losing their businesses because the Banks are refusing to allow them bank accounts. The banks argue that in view of the increasingly stringent regulations applied to them, they feel it prudent to avoid business that is considered high risk.

Recently, ‘de-risking’ as it is called, began to impinge upon our esteemed Members of Parliament. MPs are ‘Politically Exposed Persons’ (PEPs) in compliance-talk, and therefore high risk. In actual fact, ‘close associates’ of MPs are high risk – including their families.

The PEP regime is one part of anti money laundering regulation that is particularly poorly conceived and drafted. Without getting too technical, it’s as clear as mud.

I therefore welcomed the attention being brought to the matter by the inconvenience being experienced by our MPs, or ‘law-makers’ as I have heard them called. Surely now, I should expect a review to be undertaken and guidance issued that makes this well-meaning but cumbersome measure straightforward, proportionate and fair?

Hurrah! Amendments have been tabled.

However, rather than sort out this ridiculous, nonsensical, badly drafted, and impossible to implement concept of the PEP – the Houses of Parliament have engineered an amendment that will exclude MPs and their families from the PEP definition.

The rest of us will just have to cope.

It is a rare day indeed that I am rendered speechless.