27th November 2015

Commission Comes Down Hard on Directors’ Anti-Money Laundering Failings

It was recently found that the biggest worry for regulatory, compliance and anti-money laundering staff is the risk that they could go to jail if they fail to stop rogue colleagues breaking the law. A case emerging from Guernsey this October confirms that compliance professionals do have good cause to worry about the personal cost they face, should they fail to thoroughly discharge their obligations.

Three executive directors at financial services provider Confiance Ltd. were prohibited from performing the functions of director, controller, partner and money laundering reporting officer for five years.

Four executive directors were fined £50, 000 each.

A £10,000 fine was handed down to a non-executive director.

These penalties were imposed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, on the identification of significant failings in Confiance Ltd.’s anti-money laundering and counter- terrorist financing systems and controls which “could” have caused considerable reputational damage to Guernsey.

The fine amounts were initially bigger, discounted on the basis that the directors agreed to settle at a very early stage.

Alongside the £72million fine imposed by the FCA on Barclays yesterday, this is a stark warning that regulators demand relentlessly high standards of relationship risk assessment.

In Guernsey, though, the Commission also underscored the importance of meeting these standards for the duration of the relationship. It’s not enough to simply screen at onboarding. Confiance Ltd. was penalised for its failure to perform “ongoing and effective” monitoring.

If you’re concerned you might fall at the same regulatory hurdle, you can find out more about how we help you proactively monitor your clients here.

-Post by Stephen Ball