For their 2015/16 Business Plan, the FCA have added financial crime to their list of the top seven risks facing the finance industry, replacing house price growth. It’s not particularly surprising, 2014 was a bad year for high profile, high visibility financial crime cases and the industry is under public and media pressure to do more. In January, the Director General of the National Crime Agency described the British financial system as “particularly attractive” for criminals due to “the high transaction volume, developed financial services industry and [the] political stability of the UK” and that “the involvement of a small minority of complicit, negligent or unwitting professionals in the financial, legal and accountancy sectors, also facilitates money laundering – and unfairly damages the reputation of the large majority of professionals in those sectors.”
The ‘negligent’ and ‘unwitting’ are in the FCA’s firing line, with their Business Plan making repeated mention of the need for “systems and controls” to protect against financial crime, and they promise to implement an enhanced anti-money laundering supervision strategy including continuing their Systemic Anti-Money Laundering Programme which assesses AML and ABC controls at major firms. They’ll also continue to visit smaller firms they believe to be at risk of being exposed to financial crime, a strategy that remains important following their report late last year that found “many small banks and commercial insurance intermediaries fail to effectively manage financial crime risk”. They’re also planning to embed better arrangements and support for whistleblowers and to take a more active role in monitoring pension fraud.
Here at Kind, we’ve partnered with a global risk consultancy firm to help provide financial crime prevention solutions for our clients. If you’re concerned about adapting to new regulations or are worried that your processes may make you susceptible to financial crime, contact me or call the office (on 0121 643 2100) for a more detailed conversation on the solutions we offer and how they can be tailored to suit your needs.