NatWest Money-Laundering Fine Due to “systemic failure” at Multiple Levels says Financial Crime Expert
Failure to spot offences at multiple levels of the organisation necessitates “culture of compliance from the top down” and review of internal compliance processes.
LONDON – Financial Crime and Forensics expert Martin Schofield, Director at compliance, governance, and risk consultancy Complyport, commented on news that NatWest has been fined £265 million for failure to prevent money laundering.
Martin Schofield, Director of Financial Crime & Forensics at Complyport, said:
“Whilst cash remains legal tender, every regulated firm is required to identify knowledge, suspicion, or reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering. For banks, the responsibility lies both with frontline staff at branch-level and with senior managers who in this case were supposed to be overseeing all 50 branches caught up in these wrongdoings. Given the large number of staff involved, it is hard to imagine how, if required to do so, they could all demonstrate that they have satisfactorily met this threshold.
“We cannot predict when and how criminals will take advantage of our systems, but regulated firms have plenty of tools at their disposal to help identify financial crime before it reaches such extreme levels. The systemic failures that must have occurred in this case should be a warning to firms to review and, if necessary, tighten up their procedures; invest in proper training and support for compliance staff; and embed a culture of compliance from the top down so that such widespread failures are not repeated.”
Martin currently leads the Financial Crime & Forensics division at Complyport Ltd. This has been created to build on Complyport’s long-established expertise by helping clients to identify and prevent financial crime being facilitated through their organisation, products, services, or employees.
Notes to Editors:
Complyport is a leading compliance and regulatory consultancy providing bespoke, practical solutions for all manner of regulated firms both in the UK and overseas. They have assisted with 1000 successful FCA and EU authorisations to date. Their specialist compliance services expertise can either sit alongside current compliance teams or, for an independent solution, they can bring their team in-house. Established in 2002, Complyport combines former regulators, industry practitioners and legally qualified individuals to offer clients an unparalleled, professional team.