FCA Fines Deutsche Bank £163 Million for Lax AML Controls, Warns Other Firms to Review AML Procedures

In early 2016, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) cited anti-money laundering (AML) as one of its priorities. See “FCA 2016-2017 Regulatory and Supervisory Priorities Include Focus on AML, Cybersecurity and Governance” (Apr. 14, 2016). True to its word, the FCA recently reached a £163 million settlement with Deutsche Bank AG (DB) over its suspect AML policies, procedures and controls. The action is notable both for the size of the fine and for the stern admonition in the press release announcing the settlement by Mark Steward, FCA Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, who ominously warned that “other firms should take notice of today’s fine and look again at their own AML procedures to ensure they do not face similar action.” This article analyzes the suspect trades that gave rise to the enforcement action and the AML shortcomings cited by the FCA. For a recent look at AML enforcement efforts in the U.S., see “What the Record Number of 2016 SEC and FINRA Enforcement Actions Indicates About the Regulators’ Possible Enforcement Focus for 2017” (Dec. 15, 2016). For a discussion of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) new AML rules, see “Best Practices for Hedge Fund Managers to Adopt in Anticipation of Enactment of FinCEN AML Rule Proposal” (Aug. 4, 2016); and our series on the potential impact of the proposed FinCEN AML rule: Part One (Jun. 30, 2016); and Part Two (Jul. 7, 2016). 

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