Barclays Bank is reportedly being investigated by the U.K.’s financial services regulator for failures regarding its anti-money laundering (AML) procedures and controls.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a notice in spring 2022 for an independent review into the bank’s systems to detect and mitigate financial crime following a “concerning” rise in the volume of relatively minor know your customer (KYC) and AML incidents, according to a report from the Financial Times on Friday. The report cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
The investigation is known as a “skilled persons” review, as outlined under Section 166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The reviews are usually led by a law firm, consultancy, or accountancy firm and used to gather historical information, evidence, and/or documentation to determine whether remedial measures or enforcement action should be taken.
The FCA and Barclays each declined to comment on the report.
Barclays has had a series of run-ins with regulators in recent years.
In December, the U.K.’s Payment Systems Regulator fined the bank 8.4 million pounds (then-U.S. $10.2 million) for failing to provide retailers with complete information about the costs of the card services it supplied. In October, the FCA provisionally notified the bank of a potential £50 million (U.S. $60.6 million) fine for failing to properly disclose financial arrangements made with Qatari investors in 2008.
In September, Barclays and Barclays Bank agreed to pay $361 million to resolve allegations from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the bank failed to implement internal controls to track the sale of unregistered securities. The bank was separately fined $200 million by the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that same month for failing to prevent employees sending off-channel messages via apps like WhatsApp that were not recorded as required.
The FCA has hit banks with stiff penalties for AML failures recently, including a £107.8 million (then-U.S. $132 million) fine against Santander UK in December; £64 million (then-U.S. $84.3 million) fine against HSBC in December 2021; and £264.8 million (then-U.S. $350 million) fine against NatWest, also in December 2021.
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