SRA fines law firm MLRO for breach of MLRs

The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority has fined Anthony Gale, partner at Maurice Smiths solicitors who was also its compliance officer and MLRO, £10,000 for various conduct failings in relation to a number of mortgages. Mr Gale acted on a number of conveyances at the instruction of third parties without confirming the instructions with the client. The failings all related to dealings with one particular family. As a result, among other things, he failed to comply with the requirements of the relevant version of the MLRs and in doing so breached the SRA’s Principles.

The Tribunal found Mr Gale had been “sloppy, lazy and careless” and that the breaches showed a poor way of working but were not planned. By luck, no harm had been caused to clients. The Tribunal imposed a fine of £10,000 and set restrictions on how Mr Gale could practice, including that he cannot be a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice or a Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration at a law firm.