Published: 19 October 2023

As more reputable yacht brokers are forced into positions of potential closure, ABYA Chairman, Peter Norris, represented the Association of Yacht Brokers and Yacht Agents’ at the Houses of Parliament this week. 

On Wednesday 18th October, Rt Hon Kelly Tolhurst led a Westminster Hall Debate on Pooled Clients Accounts (PCAs) and how UK Banks are denying access to these accounts for yacht brokers.  

During the debate, Kelly Tolhurst emphasised not only the resilience of the yacht broking industry but also the standard practice and strict requirements of PCAs within the industry for over 20 years. 

Troubles regarding PCAs have arisen since the aftermath of significant changes to Anti-Money Laundering regulations in 2020. Confusion around the Joint Money laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) guidance notes has led to several UK Banks, including Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, and NatWest refusing to open PCAs for yacht brokers and threatening a number of businesses with the closure of their accounts.  

Over recent years, ABYA Chairman, Peter Norris and MP Kelly Tolhurst have held several conversations with key influencers in the banking sector including the Economic secretary to the Treasury at the time, John Glenn, Baroness Penn, Minister with specific responsibility for Pooled Clients Accounts within the Treasury, as well as UK Finance and the Financial Conduct Authority.  

Similar developments are also affecting industries beyond the broking industry, including small businesses in industries such as lawyers, letting agents, care homes, and insurance brokers. 

Peter Norris and MP Kelly Tolhurst continue to pursue these issues and will be providing updates over coming months. 

Peter Norris, Chairman of ABYA said: “In the past 12 months we have seen one major High Street bank close several yacht brokers accounts. These closures have not only affected these businesses financially, but significantly the mental wellbeing of their directors. As a Members Association we have challenged the Banks actions with the FCA who have refused to conduct an in-depth investigation thereby effectively endorsing the banks actions without any consideration for the protection of the customers funds. I am pleased that this week's debate, led by the Rt Hon Kelly Tolhurst, saw an acknowledgement by Andrew Griffiths - current Economic Secretary, that yacht brokers need access to these types of accounts to protect consumers funds. The Minister confirmed that he will push forward with AML review as soon as possible. In this respect ABYA has been invited to meet with the Treasury at the end of next week to discuss some of the areas that need to be included within the Treasury AML consultation.”  

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