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FCA warns retail banks over AML failings

FCA warns retail banks over AML failings

The UK's retail banks have been issued a warning by the Financial Conduct Authority about weaknesses surrounding their financial crime controls.

Following an assessment of retail banks' financial crime systems and controls, the FCA wrote to industry chiefs that "we are disappointed to continue to identify, across some firms, several common weaknesses".

Among the areas of concern are governance and oversight, risk assessments, due diligence, transaction monitoring, and suspicious activity reporting.

The regulator tells banks to complete a "gap analysis" by September against the common weaknesses identified and then take "prompt and reasonable" steps to close these.

The FCA is likely to ask firms to demonstrate the steps they have taken and will consider regulatory intervention if it decides the action is inadequate.

Wayne Johnson, CEO, Encompass Corporation, says: "Retail banking is a high-risk sector for illicit financial crime activity, particularly in today’s climate, where the increase in both online banking and remote working has made money laundering even harder to detect.

“The banks, therefore, must work proactively and collaboratively with the FCA and other regulatory bodies to ensure they are onboarding customers, reporting information and complying accurately with current existing regulations and industry recommendations."

Comments: (1)

Jeremy Light
Jeremy Light - pingNpay - London 14 July, 2021, 23:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good to see the FCA taking action here.

Weaknesses in due diligence, transaction monitoring, and suspicious activity reporting make it easier for fraudsters to open bank accounts.

A consequence is authorised push payments fraud which is devastating for victims and is fast becoming the biggest risk to innovation in UK payments. It is unsurprising that APP fraud is on the rise if banks have weaknesses in their controls, and it is scandalous that these weaknesses persist.

The FCA's concerns on governance and oversight is particularly enlightening as it explains the perception that as a whole the UK banks are failing to take APP fraud seriously. That has to change.