U.K. financial regulators will likely only get tougher on British banks that violate anti-money laundering laws in the coming year, possibly going so far as to prosecute individuals, according to Jonathan Fisher QC, a London-based barrister.
A recent spate of compliance fines and U.S. investigations has imposed renewed pressure on British banks to improve their anti-money laundering and sanctions programs, say industry sources.
The United Kingdom's banking regulator Tuesday penalized a Zurich-based financial institution and its former anti-money laundering officer a combined 540,000 pounds for broad failures in risk-ranking and enhanced due diligence procedures.
Not only can banks in the UK expect a number of anti-money laundering enforcement actions from the Financial Securities Authority, despite the fact the agency shuts down next year, investment banks and individuals in financial services can also expect a host of non-AML enforcement actions.
A U.K. fine against a London-based private banking subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland underscores the risks financial institutions take when they allow their account managers to vet valued clients, say compliance officials.
A cease-and-desist order disclosed last month against Scotland's largest bank points to compliance troubles that are more widespread than those outlined in a 2010 settlement that cost the institution $500 million, say industry insiders.