John Dobson, CEO of anti-money laundering firm SmartSearch comments on news that the FCA has fined Standard Chartered Bank £102.2m for anti-money laundering breaches – the second largest financial penalty of its kind ever imposed by the FCA.
“The news today that the FCA found “serious and sustained shortcomings” in Standard Chartered’s AML controls is just the latest high profile case where AML has come under the spotlight.
“Just last month estate agency chain Countrywide received a record fine from HMRC of £215,000 for failing to ensure its money laundering procedures and record-keeping were in line with regulations.
“Complying with AML regulations is a cumbersome process, and with regulations changing all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest rules. But, thanks to a booming RegTech industry in the UK there are now a huge number of electronic solutions.
“Thousands of banks, estate agencies, law firms and other regulated businesses are now turning to electronic AML platforms to complete their AML checks, Global Sanctions and PEP screening.
“For example, our platform offers a one-stop shop AML verification system that guarantees to recognise fraudulent documents and AML activity and offers ongoing monitoring – which was one of the issues highlighted by the FCA in the Standard Chartered Bank case.
“With technology like this available, there is no reason for regulated businesses not to have correct AML processes in place. Plus, with the 5th money laundering directive stipulating that electronic solutions be used wherever possible, it is likely that electronic AML checks will soon become compulsory anyway.
“Electronic AML platforms save time, money and are more reliable than manual checks ever can be and with fines like this one being handed out to those not complying with AML regulations, is it really worth the risk?”